All EcoFlash


409 EcoFlash(s) found
    04 June 2021
    Eurozone member states mobilised massive public resources in response to the Covid-19 emergency, providing support for households as well as companies facing a loss of business. As a result, the public debt ratio rose sharply in 2020 to 98% of GDP. Since there is still a big need for economic support in the first part of the year, the Eurozone debt ratio will probably cross the threshold of 100% of GDP in 2021. The ECB plans to continue purchasing assets as part of its Pandemic Emergency Purchasing Programme (PEPP) at least until March 2022, at a time when the Eurosystem currently holds nearly 30 percentage points of GDP in Eurozone public debt instruments. The first disbursements of the Next Generation EU recovery plan are slated for the second half of 2021. At this point, the European Commission estimates that 40% of the grants allocated by the Recovery and Resilience Facility will be spent by the end of 2022, the equivalent of nearly 1% of EU GDP.  
    01 June 2021
    The cyclical trough seems to be behind us in the Eurozone at a time when vaccination campaigns in the member states are accelerating. From a macroeconomic perspective, the catching-up dynamic seem to be stronger than expected by many analysts. Yet the general economic improvement masks important sector disparities. The Covid-19 crisis will have stronger and more lasting effects on certain sectors, like hotel and restaurant services. In the months ahead, there is a risk that more companies will go bankrupt, especially in the hardest hit sectors.
    21 May 2021
    World trade in goods has rebounded very strongly, even though major divergences exist between regions due mainly to widely contrasting health and economic situations. The turnaround in services exports has been much slower, with transport and tourism still holding at very low levels. Trade in information and communication technology (ICT) services was much more resilient in 2020. Brexit triggered a sharp increase in the number of new trade agreements in 2021. Two major trade agreements negotiated by the European Union are still pending, one with Mercosur and the other with China. Negotiations between the United States and China are also at a standstill after the failure of bilateral talks held in Alaska in mid-March.
    10 May 2021
    Employment and the jobless rate are both expected to rise in 2021, but the size of these movements is very uncertain. The rise in employment is likely to be limited, while the upturn in the jobless rate risks being big. The France Relance recovery plan will surely help boost employment. Uncertainty over the size of its rebound is linked in part to the vigour of the economic recovery. Above all, employment recovery will be hampered by several headwinds: the lagged impact of the GDP plunge in 2020, the increase in corporate bankruptcies, persistent sector differences, the return to work of furloughed or short-time workers, and corporate efforts to restore productivity gains and margins. As to the unemployment rate, the dynamics of employment and the labour force are both uncertain. There is also the question of the profile of the increase in the jobless rate in 2021. Will it be a continuous increase or a bell-shaped curve? The most likely scenario is the first one, with a sharper increase in the first half that eases in the second half. The French labour market is unlikely to return to good health in 2021 (as defined by the government in its unemployment insurance reform), but the year 2022 seems like a more realistic horizon.
    04 May 2021
    In the United States, there has been a series of “once-in-a-generation” recovery plans that have little in common. Unlike the USD 1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” adopted in March, the nearly USD 2.3 trillion “American Jobs Plan” proposed by President Biden is geared towards the long term and aims to be fully financed through taxes. Designed to defend America’s strategic interests, the plan’s philosophy is similar to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Yet the Biden administration is not foregoing a multilateral framework: its plan is also intended to serve as a vehicle for international fiscal harmonisation. 
    19 April 2021
    Eurozone inflation rose markedly in Q1 2021 and seems to be extremely volatile. Core inflation, which is usually stable, has been moving in fits and starts.The rebound in goods prices largely explains the broad increase in inflation. Prices of tradeable services have also picked up, notably in the sectors that were hit hardest by the pandemic, such as transport. The recent acceleration in prices is being driven by temporary factors: changes in VAT rates, higher crude oil prices, and the revision of HICP weights. Inflation could continue to rise over the next few months.These temporary effects should dissipate at the beginning of next year. Thereafter, there seems to be very little risk of an inflationary surge in the Eurozone.
    06 April 2021
    In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic had a much smaller impact on the French labour market than on GDP. On an average annual basis, GDP growth plunged 8.2% while private payroll employment declined by only 1.7%. The unemployment rate even fell slightly compared to 2019 (-0.4 points on an average annual basis). Employment was buffered by emergency support measures, notably the massive use of job retention schemes, which is the main reason why the overall negative impact was so mild. Yet the impact was disproportionate by sector: in Q4 2020, compared to the year-earlier period, 75% of payroll job losses were concentrated in the four sectors hit hardest by the crisis (hotel & restaurant services, household services, transport services and transport equipment manufacturing), even though their employment share is 5 times smaller (16%). The counterintuitive fluctuations in the unemployment rate can be attributed to the misleading effects of methodology. During lockdowns, numerous jobseekers exit the labour force because they cannot actively seek work and/or show that they are available to work. As a result, they no longer qualify as jobseekers according to ILO criteria. Instead, they are counted as part of the halo around unemployment, which has increased sharply. Underemployment, which includes short-time work, has also risen rapidly. The impact of the crisis on hiring declarations and the number of category A jobseekers is more in line with what one would expect.
    23 March 2021
    Totalling USD 1.9 trillion or 9 percent of GDP, the American Rescue Plan ranks among the largest stimulus packages ever launched in the United States. The plan aims to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, but does not stop there. The new supportive measures, combined with those approved in December 2020, could rapidly bring the US economy under pressure; Inflation is not the biggest threat, even though it is expected to rise above 2%. The surge in prices is likely to be short lived since global competition and the accelerating digital revolution are bound to have a moderating effect. Among the possible harmful effects is the risk of fuelling speculative behaviours in certain market segments (tech stocks, high-yield bonds…).  
    22 March 2021
    The VVD (conservative free-market liberals) and D66 (social liberals) were the big winners at the general election held on 17 March, by gaining 35 and 23 seats, respectively. However, the CDA (Christian Democrats) lost heavily. The populist right won slightly as the losses at the PVV were compensated by a huge gain by the FvD, which had campaigned against the lockdown measures. The parties on the left suffered severe losses and tumbled from 37 seats in the old parliament to only 26. In particular, the losses of the Greens were surprising given the importance of environmental issues for the Dutch electorate. As the country has been going through the worst crisis since World War II, the formation of a new and stable government is highly desirable. Given the election results, the government formation period can be relatively short, in particular if the CDA is willing to join VVD and D66. Prime minister Mark Rutte has already expressed his preference for such a coalition.
    11 February 2021
    Elections polls point towards a breakthrough by the Socialist Party and the far right to the detriment of the centre-right Ciudadanos party. Although political risks continue to persist in Catalonia today, the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 crisis could weaken the momentum for the pro-independence movement and increase support for the Central Government. The Covid-19 crisis has accentuated Catalonia’s dependence on the Central Administration and Europe more broadly.
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