ECB insisting that inflation is largely transient

Nobody expects the ECB Governing Council to make any policy changes at next week’s monetary policy meeting. However, Christine Lagarde will address concerns about rising inflationary pressures and we expect her to reiterate that, even if they are stronger than anticipated, they are likely to prove temporary. She will probably also stress that the ECB’s current guidance implies that rate hikes are further away than suggested by financial markets. Otherwise, the focus will be on when and how to end the PEPP, decisions on which are scheduled for December.

Andrew Kenningham Chief Europe Economist
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European Economics Weekly

ECB’s line on inflation contrasts with the Fed’s

In contrast to those at the US Fed, ECB policymakers are not ready to retire their argument that the current bout of high inflation is temporary. This reflects the significant difference in inflationary pressures between the two economies. Next week, we will get the detailed breakdown of November’s German inflation data, which will shed more light on the stronger-than-expected outturn. Meanwhile, with less than two weeks to go until December’s ECB meeting, the Governing Council appears to have reached a consensus on some aspects of its asset purchase programmes. But comments from Christine Lagarde today suggest that it will avoid making any long-term commitments.

3 December 2021

European Data Response

Euro-zone Retail Sales (Oct) & Final PMIs (Nov.)

Euro-zone retail sales have levelled off since June, but rising Covid cases and the return of restrictions are likely to weigh on sales and other components of consumption in the coming months.

3 December 2021

European Data Response

EZ Unemployment (Oct.)

While labour market conditions continued to improve in October, the recent deterioration of the Covid situation and increased uncertainty due to the Omicron variant are likely to mean the recovery takes a breather over the next couple of months, just as it did when restrictions were in place at the start of 2021.

2 December 2021

More from Andrew Kenningham

European Economic Outlook

Running into troubled waters

Supply chain problems will slow the recovery and keep inflation above target until around the middle of next year. Beyond that, however, the economy should get back on track. After regaining its pre-crisis level later this year, output is likely to converge with its pre-pandemic trend. Meanwhile, we do not expect significant second-round effects from the recent surge in prices and think wage increases will remain quite modest. Headline inflation is likely to drop back below the ECB’s target by the end of next year, as energy inflation turns negative. So while the ECB will end its emergency PEPP purchases next March, it will step up its regular asset purchases and leave the deposit rate at -0.5% until around 2025, which is a lot later than financial markets anticipate.

19 October 2021

Nordic & Swiss Economics Weekly

Few signs of inflation in Scandinavia

While global financial markets are obsessing over the possible rebirth of inflation, there are precious few signs that it is about to take off in Scandinavia. The increases in headline inflation for September in Norway and Sweden were due to higher energy inflation. This should drop sharply next year as the supply of renewable electricity rebounds. Meanwhile, the US Treasury is due to publish its latest report on “currency manipulators” in the coming week or so but Switzerland should again get a free pass.

15 October 2021

European Chart Book

Headwinds strengthening

Supply shortages and rising energy prices are becoming stronger headwinds to the euro-zone recovery. The latest data from Germany showed sharp falls in industrial orders and production, with manufacturers citing supply bottlenecks as a constraint on output. These problems have hit the vehicle sector particularly hard, and in the September German Ifo survey more car producers expected conditions to deteriorate in the next six months than improve. Firms in the construction sector also seem to be struggling to source materials. Meanwhile, the recent huge increases in energy prices are adding to producers’ costs and at the same time pushing up consumer price inflation. While the timeliest business surveys remain consistent with the economy as a whole growing, and we think that supply problems will ease and energy prices fall next year, the risk of stagnation in the final months of this year is rising.

7 October 2021
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