US, UK, France And Spain – Heterogeneous Growth During The First Quarter

During the first quarter, growth was robust in the US and in SpainDuring the first quarter, growth was robust in the US and in Spain

During the first quarter, growth was robust in the US and in Spain, slightly lower than expected in France and weaker than anticipated in the United Kingdom.

The first graph given by Philippe WAECHTER, Chief Economist at Ostrum AM, shows the GDP quarterly change since 2015, the annual average growth for the last 3 years and the carryover growth for 2018 at the end of the first quarter.

The US growth was, for the first quarter, at the same level than the 2017 average at 2.3%. Nevertheless, the figure is slightly lower than the last three quarters of 2017. According to chief economist Waetcher, the impact of the strong fiscal policy is not seen yet in these numbers. The carry over growth for 2018 is at 1.7%.

The 2.2% trend seen since the beginning of 2011 is still the framework for the US growth dynamics.

In Spain, growth figures are strong since the beginning of 2014 even if the momentum has been a little lower for the last three quarters. The trend is almost linear at 3.2% since 2014. The carryover growth for 2018 is 1.8%

In France, growth was just 0.3% (non-annualized) after 0.7% during the last 3 months of 2017. In fact the first quarter figure is just a correction after the 2017 non-sustainable path for the French economy. The current trend (since 2013) is 1.3% for France, therefore  2% was too much to be sustainable. Ostrum’s experts maintain  growth forecast at 2%.

The carryover growth for 2018 is 1.2% at the end of the first quarter.

In the UK, the trend is clearly weaker since the Brexit referendum. The second graph shows the real GDP level and the trend calculated from 2014 to Q2 2016 (the referendum was on June 23). At Ostrum they see that there is a huge and enlarging gap between the trend and the real GDP profile.

It is the cost associated with the Brexit decision. There is no reason to see a reversal in this gap. The carryover growth for 2018 is 0.7%.