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.
Andrew Kenningham Chief Europe Economist
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European Economics Update

Rising house prices strengthen ECB hawks’ case

Euro-zone inflation would be even further above target if owner-occupied housing costs were included in the region’s headline measure. Their formal inclusion won’t take place for a few years yet, but the ECB has pledged to take them into account in the meantime. On balance, this points to slightly tighter policy. Euro-zone Drop-In: Why the ECB will be laying the groundwork for rate hikes in 2023. Join Andrew Kenningham and the Europe team for a discussion about their Q1 euro-zone Economic Outlook report on Tuesday, 1 Feb at 09:00 EST/14:00 GMT. Registration here.

25 January 2022

European Data Response

German Ifo Survey (January)

The increase in the Ifo Business Climate Index (BCI) in January provides more evidence that, after contracting in late 2021, conditions have stabilised at the start of the year. With disruption from the Omicron wave likely to ease in the coming weeks, we think German GDP will increase in Q1. Euro-zone Drop-In: Why the ECB will be laying the groundwork for rate hikes in 2023. Join Andrew Kenningham and the Europe team for a discussion about their Q1 euro-zone Economic Outlook report on Tuesday, 1 Feb at 09:00 EST/14:00 GMT. Registration here.

25 January 2022

European Data Response

Euro-zone Flash PMIs (Jan.)

The small decline in the Composite PMI in January confirms that Omicron has taken a toll on the services sector, though Germany performed surprisingly well. We think governments will ease restrictions sufficiently in February and March to allow euro-zone GDP to increase by around 0.5% in Q1.

24 January 2022

More from Andrew Kenningham

European Data Response

German Ifo Survey (November)

The fall in the Ifo Business Climate Index (BCI) for November was in line with expectations and suggests that the German economy was struggling even before the recent tightening of Covid restrictions. Things will be much worse in December as coronavirus restrictions are tightened further.

24 November 2021

European Economics Update

New Covid restrictions another headwind

Several euro-zone governments have tightened coronavirus rules lately and more measures are on the cards, including in Germany. On the whole, these are set to be less severe than they were earlier this year and have less economic impact. But “lockdowns” in parts of Austria suggest there are big downside risks.

18 November 2021

European Data Response

German Inflation (October)

The breakdown of October’s inflation data confirms that most of the increase, from 4.1% in September to 4.6% on the HICP measure, was due to higher energy prices. We suspect that inflation will edge up a bit further before year-end but it should then come down next year as energy inflation declines.

10 November 2021
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