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Emerging Europe

Israel

Bank of Israel steps up tightening

The Bank of Israel hiked its policy by a larger-than-expected 40bp today, to 0.75%, and the backdrop of a strong economy, tight labour market and mounting inflation pressures means that we think it will deliver further hikes at its upcoming meetings, to 2.25% by early next year.

23 May 2022

Hungary tightening, ruble strength, Bulgaria support

Officials in Hungary sought this week to reassure investors that they will tackle inflation and mounting macro imbalances. Tighter policy is needed, which underpins our below-consensus growth forecasts. Elsewhere, the Russian ruble strengthened beyond 60/$ this week – its strongest level since 2018 – which, combined with the stabilising inflationary backdrop, will give the CBR the confidence to ease capital controls and cut interest rates further. Finally, Bulgaria announced measures to shield the economy from high inflation this week, but we doubt that it will be enough to prevent a recession.

20 May 2022

Israel GDP (Q1 2022)

The 1.6% q/q annualised contraction in Q1 GDP in Israel was weaker than analysts expected, but it was more or less in line with our forecast and doesn’t change the bigger picture that Israel’s economy is operating in line with its pre-pandemic trend. With inflation rising and the labour market tightening, we expect the central bank to raise interest rates from 0.35% now to over 2% next year. EM Drop-In (17th May): Do current EM debt strains point to a repeat of the kinds of crises seen in the 1980s and 1990s? Join our special briefing on EM sovereign debt risk on Tuesday. Register now.

16 May 2022
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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.

Israel: interest rate lift-off with a 25bp hike

The Bank of Israel kick-started its tightening cycle today with a 25bp interest rate hike to 0.35% and we think it will deliver further hikes at its upcoming meetings, taking rates to around 2.00% in the first half of next year. This is currently more hawkish than investors are expecting.

Manufacturing PMIs (Mar.)

Manufacturing PMIs declined across the region in March amid the war in Ukraine, and with supply chain disruptions and price pressures set to intensify, industry looks set to contract in the coming months.

Russia entering recession, slowdowns in CEE

The war in Ukraine has devasted its economy, while Western sanctions are likely to push Russia into a deep contraction, with GDP set to fall by 12% this year. Immediate fears of a Russian sovereign default have not materialised and Russia’s financial markets have rebounded in recent weeks, but it’s unclear for how long this will continue. A more sustained recovery will probably require a peace deal which still looks far away. Meanwhile, spillovers from the war will be felt acutely in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Industry will be hit by supply disruptions and higher inflation will weigh on households’ real incomes and dampen consumer spending. We expect the war to shave 1.0-1.5%-pts off growth in CEE this year.

Emerging Europe: War reinforces weak values outlook

The war in Ukraine will have spillover effects for property in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), albeit that Russia will be far worst hit. Economic growth is expected to be slower, which will weigh on property demand, while inflation and interest rates will rise faster. We still think that office and retail rents in the CEE region can return to growth this year, but the recovery is likely to be slower than previously expected. With bond yields already higher, we think that there is less scope for further falls in property yields this year and that they will rise more quickly from next year than we previously forecast. Overall, this reinforces what was already a weak outlook for property values.

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