Euro-zone

Austria

Austria lockdown casts shadow over rest of euro-zone

The “full lockdown” in Austria announced earlier today is a response to the rapid deterioration in the Covid situation there and we estimate that it could knock around 1.5% off the country’s GDP in Q4. While on its own this would not make a big difference to euro-zone GDP, there is a clear risk that other larger economies, notably Germany, are forced to follow suit. Our euro-zone Q4 GDP growth forecast may well prove too optimistic and stagnation, or even contraction, are plausible.

19 November 2021

Why are prime industrial rental values not taking off?

Despite strong demand, we think that high capital values have kept development profitable and have prevented an acceleration in euro-zone prime industrial rental value growth. However, as capital value growth slows there is a risk that some markets will see more upward pressure on rents.

15 October 2021

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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Sector fortunes to shift

While the Delta variant has slowed economic activity in other parts of the world, this has not yet been the case in the euro-zone, and we are cautiously optimistic that the bloc will continue to grow. This will support the property market upturn, albeit offices and retail face structural challenges that will limit the rental recovery. Stronger rental prospects for industrial mean we think that the sector has the most scope for yield compression in the near term, though strong demand for prime assets should allow office yields to edge a bit lower too. However, further increases in yields will make some retail assets look increasingly attractive by year-end, prompting small yield falls in the next few years. The upshot is that industrial is expected to outperform over the next couple of years, but stronger capital value growth beyond 2022 will result in retail returns emerging as the strongest.

Strong rebound and temporary rise in inflation

The euro-zone is on the way to an almost full recovery. We expect Germany to regain its pre-pandemic level of activity later this year and the tourist-dependent southern countries to do so next year. The Delta variant may lead to some voluntary social distancing or self-isolating and perhaps limited restrictions over the winter, but we doubt that it will derail the recovery. Inflation will rise further than most expect in the coming months due to rising input costs and supply bottlenecks. But with wage agreements and inflation expectations remaining low, it will drop back and stay lower than most expect over the medium term. The ECB is likely to step up its standard Asset Purchase Programme substantially when its emergency purchases end next March and leave its deposit rate at -0.5% until beyond 2025, which is much later than investors expect.

Drop back in bond yields takes pressure off ECB

The fall in sovereign bond yields over the past week may make things a little easier for the ECB Governing Council when it meets on 10th June. We think it is likely to replace its commitment to make “significantly” higher bond purchases than in Q1 with a less specific commitment to keep financing conditions favourable. Next week we expect to learn that inflation got very close to 2% in May (data on Tuesday) while the final PMIs for May will show a big improvement in Spain and Italy (Thursday). Retail sales data for April (Friday) will probably fall in m/m terms as a lot of shops were closed in France. Finally, note that the Capital Economics London “office” will be closed on Monday.

France, Spain & Austria GDP (Q4)

Tough restrictions imposed in France and Austria last autumn to curb the spread of COVID-19 caused both countries’ GDP to fall in Q4. Spain’s laxer approach meant its economy actually grew. But for all three, 2020 was a catastrophic year, and the stricter measures currently being imposed in the face of rising infections bode ill for Q1.

Upward pressure on Vienna office yields still likely

Depressed investment activity and a weak rental outlook are set to put upward pressure on office yields. That said, given that prime property values have been slower to adjust than we had initially anticipated, there is a risk that the yield rise we forecast this year is pushed into next year.

22 October 2020
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