Scope Ratings | The appointment of a new prime minister and a shift towards greening the economy could help to restore political integration across government levels over the medium term but reviving the economy remains the key near-term priority. Emmanuelle Macron is facing the multi-faceted challenges of reviving the economy, addressing the climate imperative and resetting his presidency amid declining approval ratings.
Ireland’s Paschal Donohoe has been elected as the new Eurogroup President, replacing Portugal’s Mario Centeno. He beat out Spanish minister Nadia Calviño, who had the favourable support of the countries accounting for 80% of the Eurozone’s GDP, including Germany, France and Italy.
Ranko Berich (Monex Europe) | Rishi Sunak has delivered a trifecta of crowd-pleasing measures in the summer statement but has nonetheless dialled the pace of stimulus down from its previous “warp speed” setting. The OBR’s judgement is due next week, but by the Government’s reckoning today’s measures add up to another £30bn of spending – significant by any stretch, but not on the scale of the £84bn job retention scheme. Although at this point the additional fiscal stimulus is welcome, the effectiveness of both the VAT cut and the discount voucher will depend on the vagaries of human behaviour.
The three countries most affected by the coronavirus crisis will be Italy, Spain and France, with falls in GDP of 11.2%, 10.9% and 10.6% respectively this year. For the region as a whole, GDP will contract by 8.7% in 2020 compared to the 7.7% previously expected. By 2021 it expects GDP to grow by 6.1%. In the second half of next year, the Commission sees a two speed recovery happening in the EU, with the existing divergences in the area becoming even more pronounced.
The European Central Bank acquired €5.4 Bn in Spanish bonds during the month of June as part of its PSPP purchase programme, which has been questioned by the German Constitutional Court. The June figure accounts for 21.5% of the total of €25.23 Bn allocated for the month by the ECB for the acquisition of sovereign debt of the euro area countries participating in the programme. So it has exceeded the capital key of 11.9% corresponding to Spain.
Matilde Mas (Funcas) | Since the beginning of the 21st century, productivity growth has experienced an almost generalized slowdown, albeit of unequal intensity, in most developed countries. And this is despite the accelerated process of innovation accompanying the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is the phenomenon known as the productivity puzzle. Among the large EU-15 countries – Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK – the general pattern has been a slowdown in labour productivity since around 2005.
Yesterday, Eurostat published the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for June, which rose 0.3% year-on-year. This is a rebound in inflation in the region from the 0.1% rate recorded in May. The figures were in line with analysts’ expectations. However, even with the effect of the German VAT cut, European inflation should become negative again in July.
The association FuelsEurope, representing the European refining industry, expects to produce 30 million tonnes of low-carbon liquid fuels (eco-fuels) annually by 2035. This would mean a reduction in CO2 emissions with an estimated minimum of 100 million tonnes per year by that date, and emission neutrality by 2050 in Europe. The European counterpart the Spanish Association of Oil Product Operators (AOP) has launched a plan to introduce these eco-friendly fuels into the transport sector.
Apolline Menut (AXA Investment) | The Next Generation EU package is a genuine step forward. Joint debt issuance, fiscal transfers and proposed joint tax revenues are politically meaningful. But the package is too small (around 5% of EU GDP) and slow (peaking in 2023-2024) to be a proper cyclicalstabilisation tool.
Intermoney | As the pandemic has eased in Europe, long-standing problems have returned to the forefront, one of which is the ever-present Brexit. According to the FT, there is greater willingness to bring positions closer together, so that there would be a breakthrough in the negotiations from 29 June, However, the conflictive issues remain and include: the UK’s demand to hold on to the access to its fishing waters, the disagreements over how to create a regulatory playing field to protect companies from unfair competition. There is also Brussels’ desire to wrap up all the parts of a future relationship into a single legal agreement.