Category Archives: Eurozone

1/6/20: COVID19 and European Banking

McKinsey research note on European banks' potential losses due to COVID19 is quite on the money:

With more than 1/3rd of European executives expecting "a muted recovery that would lead to sharp drops in banks’ revenue, a squeeze on their capital, and a hit on return on equity", European banks can expect revenues to drop by 40 percent plus, and ROE drop 11 percentage points in 2021.

And the problems are strategic. COVID19 is actually accelerating changes in customers' demand for services. "McKinsey’s European customer survey shows how customer behavior and needs have changed over the past month: digital engagement levels have climbed up to 20 percent, the use of cash has halved, 30 to 40 percent of customers have expressed a greater need for advice, while 20 to 40 percent want products to help them through the crisis.4 Pension shortfalls are a particular challenge with those close to retirement facing a very immediate problem."

Alas, European banks, especially those operating in the 2008-2014 crises-hit economies, such as Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal, are utterly unprepared for these shifting trends. I wrote about these problems in a series of two article for The Currency here: and

27/5/20: Germany: Employment and Business Activity Show Gentle Uptick in May

Germany employment conditions improved slightly in May, based on ifo Institute survey:

The gains are in line with the Business Activity survey results:

However, both business expectations (major driver of improvement) and current conditions (remaining deeply under water and actually still deteriorating in May) are well below 2009 crisis reading:

6/5/20: Eurozone Composite PMI: Covid Horror Show

Final Eurozone Composite Output Index came in at 13.6 (Flash: 13.5, against March Final: 29.7). March was bad. April is worse. Final Eurozone Services Business Activity Index was at 12.0 (Flash: 11.7, March Final: 26.4), final Manufacturing PMI covered here:

1Q 2020 implied decline in Euro area GDP is at around 3.5%. 2Q 2020 start is now worse than 1Q 2020.

4/5/20: Eurozone Manufacturing PMIs Crater to Historic Lows

I do not commonly cover Eurozone PMIs, but April read-out is shocking. Truly, abysmally, shocking.

From Markit release:

  • Final Eurozone Manufacturing PMI at 33.4 in April (Flash: 33.6, March Final: 44.5), so down 11.1 points m/m
  • March was bad - at 44.5 well below the zero growth line of 50.0. April came in woefully bad. 
  • Confidence sinks to record low and job losses mount
  • This was "the lowest ever recorded by the series (which began in June 1997), surpassing readings seen during the depths of the global financial crisis". 

I have covered BRICS and Global Manufacturing PMIs for April here: