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The ECB stays cautious 6/9/2017
The ECB has tweaked its forward guidance on the back of a brighter economic outlook but remains cautious on inflation.
ECB: Balancing act 6/9/2017
The ECB has tweaked its forward guidance. GDP forecasts have been revised up. Yet the central bank remained cautious on inflation.  
Eurozone: QE, Who are the securities sellers? 5/31/2017
The release of the eurozone financial accounts for fourth-quarter 2016 enables us to make an update on transactions in long-term debt securities and to identify the institutional sectors that are net buyers or sellers (i.e. those that purchase more than they sell, and those that sell more than they purchase). Between Q2 2015 (the start-up of the purchase programme for public sector securities, the biggest segment of the expanded asset purchase programme) and Q4 2016, the ECB purchased EUR 1438 billion in long-term debt securities. The biggest net sellers (at the market level, not necessarily at the ECB) were retail banks (EUR 560 billion) followed by non-resident agents (EUR 367 billion). Of course, the Eurosystem did not purchase securities on the primary market, a fortiori issued by non-residents, but its purchases led to a slight shift in demand towards issues from the rest of the world.
Eurozone: Inflation in sight? 5/19/2017
Should we believe in inflation recovery by year-end?
Inflation in sight? 5/19/2017
Should we believe in inflation recovery by year-end?
Eurozone: buoyant tailwinds 5/12/2017
Europe’s horizon is clearing up, and not only from a political perspective. First-quarter growth figures confirm that the Eurozone is supported by a favourable cyclical environment. And could well hold in the coming quarters very close to last year’s pace.
A favourable cyclical environment 5/12/2017
The focus on political risk in Europe in recent months has tended to overshadow the economic upturn. Yet favourable statistics suggest that growth will maintain a cruising speed that might not be all that high, but at least is comfortable.
Eurozone: Inflation outlook improves but long-term inflation uncertainty increases 5/10/2017
The recently released ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters for the second quarter of 2017 shows that near-term headline inflation expectations have been revised up. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: ongoing above potential growth should cause a narrowing of the still negative output gap and eventually cause a pick-up in inflation. The report also provides the probability distribution of the inflation forecasts, a measure of inflation uncertainty. For long-term inflation forecasts, that is for 2021, the probability distribution is flatter than six months ago: the likelihood of very low as well as high inflation has increased whereas the middle part of the distribution now sees a lower likelihood. This reflects a slight increase in long-term inflation uncertainty. It could mean that some people think that the ECB will be too slow in hiking or that some shock will occur causing a new slowdown and a drop in inflation.
Eurozone government finances: getting better but challenges remain 4/28/2017
Eurostat’s reports on Eurozone government finances released this week show some improvement but several structural challenges remain.
Eurozone: Broad-based improvement of the employment outlook 4/26/2017
Last week’s flash estimate of the composite Markit PMI for the Eurozone reached 56.7 for the month of April, well above the 50-mark that separates expansion and contraction. It is the highest level since April 2011 and shows the strength of the current cyclical upswing. In order to sustain these positive dynamics, the labour market plays a key role via its impact on household sentiment and consumer spending. In this respect, the strength of the employment series of the PMI provides reason for optimism: not only has the employment index risen strongly in recent months but in addition it has reached a level not seen since July 2007. Importantly, the phenomenon is broad-based with Germany, France and Italy showing a strong increase. In Spain the evolution has been sideways but the level remains very high.

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