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Tightening cycles still have some way to go

Inflation has continued to beat expectations across Emerging Europe over the past month, reaching rates not seen in decades in most countries. It is now weighing more heavily on consumer confidence, and the surprise inflation releases for May prompted central banks to accelerate tightening cycles in a number of economies, including Czechia (125bp hike) and Hungary (185bp). Such large hikes are unlikely to be repeated but, with inflation not set to peak for at least a few more months, tightening cycles still have some way to go. The exceptions are Russia and Turkey. Falling inflation will give Russia’s central bank scope to cut its policy rate further and President Erdogan’s grip on Turkey’s central bank means that rate hikes to combat inflation of more than 70% y/y remain off the cards.
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Emerging Europe Data Response

Israel GDP (Q2 2022)

The stronger-than-expected 6.8% q/q annualised expansion in Israel GDP in Q2 confirms that the Q1 contraction was just a blip. Economic activity remains strong and alongside the red-hot inflation figures for July, the risks are skewed to a 75bp rate hike at next week’s central bank meeting. We think a 50bp hike (to 1.75%) is just about more likely but we maintain our view that rates will reach 3.0% next year. Europe Drop-In (18th Aug.): Winter is coming to the European economy – but how harsh will it get? Join this special briefing on the economic impact of Russia’s gas supply threat. Register now.

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Emerging Europe Data Response

Russia GDP (Q2 2022)

Russian GDP contracted by 4% y/y in Q2, consistent with a fall of 6% in seasonally-adjusted q/q terms – a much better performance than analysts had expected and than had seemed likely a few months ago. There have been signs of stabilisation in many sectors over the past month or two but we don’t expect the downturn to bottom out until Q2 2023 and think the economy will stagnate at best thereafter.

12 August 2022

Emerging Europe Economics Weekly

Hungary’s fiscal tightening, currencies rebound

Hungary's government has reined in the budget deficit much more quickly than had looked likely since April's election, helping to alleviate the large twin deficits. But this presents a major headwind to the economy and supports our view that GDP growth will grind to a halt in the coming quarters. Elsewhere, CEE currencies have received some much-needed respite this month as global risk sentiment has improved. We think this will be short lived but it will at least take some pressure off central banks that are dealing with red hot inflation.

12 August 2022

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Emerging Europe Chart Book

Resilience so far, but weakness on the horizon

GDP across Central Europe expanded strongly in Q1 and the latest figures for March and April suggest that activity has remained resilient since the war in Ukraine started. Russia’s economy has not (yet) fallen off a cliff as had been expected. Industry in CEE is coping well with renewed supply chain disruptions. Consumer-facing sectors have been supported by strong wage growth and loose fiscal policy. And Turkey’s economy seems to have adapted to the high inflation environment. We maintain our view that activity will weaken in Q2 and that some economies will enter recession (particularly Russia) as the effects of the war bite harder. At this stage, however, there are some clear upside risks to our GDP forecasts emerging.

31 May 2022

Emerging Europe Chart Book

Inflation risks mount as commodity prices surge

Surging commodity prices have pushed up inflation across the region and we expect inflation to hit fresh multi-year highs in the coming months. A loss of Russian gas supplies should not lead to rationing in Poland, but it will have a big impact in Bulgaria and energy bills are likely to be higher across the region this year. With activity holding up well for now, central banks continue to focus on inflation risks and we expect large interest rate hikes next week in Poland (100bp) and Czechia (50bp). In contrast, Russia’s central bank looks set to lower interest rates further now that inflation pressures have eased sharply. It may be shifting to a dovish stance too quickly, but looser monetary conditions will only go so far to supporting activity.

28 April 2022

Emerging Europe Economic Outlook

Recession risks take centre stage

The Russian economy will collapse this year and we expect spillovers from the war in Ukraine to cause a recession in many of the smaller countries in the region, particularly Bulgaria and the Baltic States. Loose fiscal policy and strong labour market dynamics should help Poland and Hungary outperform but, even so, we’re more downbeat on GDP growth in all major economies than the consensus. We think inflation will end the year stronger and interest rates higher than most expect. The economic backdrop of widening macro imbalances, the euro-zone recession risk and aggressive global monetary tightening will cause the region’s currencies to depreciate.

20 April 2022
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