Euro-zone

Greece

Rising Covid fears will keep policymakers dovish

It is too early to judge how serious the B.1.1.529 variant will turn out to be, but it certainly reinforces the case for central banks to be ultra-cautious when withdrawing their policy support. We now think that at its next meeting, the ECB will make clear that even if it intends to end net PEPP purchases in March, it stands ready to start them again if needed. That in turn should help to keep bond yields and spreads low. Meanwhile, we are braced for some “shock” inflation numbers next week, but they should mark the peak and inflation is likely to fall quite sharply next year.

26 November 2021

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

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
More Publications

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.

Has Athens been pushed off track by COVID-19?

After gaining ground since 2018, the recovery in Athens’ prime property values has stalled. However, we think that the catch up with the euro-zone will continue, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years.

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.

How the vaccine will affect Greece’s economy

The recent tightening in coronavirus restrictions means that Greece’s recovery will shift into reverse in Q4 and the start of 2021 is also likely to be weak. However, the rollout of a vaccine by mid-year should pave the way for a strong rebound in tourism. We have therefore raised our 2021 GDP forecast.

1 to 8 of 406 publications
See More ↓