Category Archives: Euro area growth

5/5/16: Eurocoin signals significant euro area growth slowdown in April

Updating time series analysis for Eurocoin, a leading growth indicator for the Euro area economy issued by CEPR and Banca d’Italia.

In April 2016, Eurocoin reading stood at 0.28, down from 0.34 in March 2016 and marking the lowest reading since March 2015. In other words, leading growth indicator for the euro area is now at its lowest reading in 12 months. Given previous 1Q preliminary growth estimate at 0.6% (q/q growth) from the Eurostat, current level of Eurocoin suggest quarterly growth slowdown to around 0.4%. Since April 2013 (when Eurocoin turned positive for the first time in the recovery cycle), the indicator has been averaging 0.319, which implies April reading is substantially lower than average growth activity over the last 36 months.


Charts below highlight impotency of the ECB's traditional policy framework:

14/2/16: Ifo WorldEconomic Climate Index: 1Q 2016

Global growth leading indicators are screaming it, Baltic Dry Index is screaming it, PMIs are screaming it, BRICS are living it, and now Ifo surveys are showing it: global economy is heading into a storm.

The latest warning is from the Ifo World Economic Climate Index.

Per Ifo release: “The Ifo Index for the world economy dropped from 89.6 points to 87.8 points this quarter, drifting further from its long-term average (96.1 points). While assessments of the current economic situation brightened marginally, expectations were less positive than last quarter. The sharp decline in oil prices seems to be having no overall positive economic impact. Growth in the world economy continues to lack impetus.”

In numbers, thus:

  • Headline World Economic Climate Index is now averaging 88.7 over the two quarters through 1Q 2016, which is statistically below 97.7 average for the 2 quarters through 3Q 2015 and 93.2 average for 4 quarters through 1Q 2016. Current 2 quarters average is way lower than 8 quarters average of 98.4. Historical average is 94.9, but when one considers only periods of robust economic growth, the index average is 98.9. Again, current 2 quarters average is significantly below that.
  • Present Situation sub-index 2 quarters average is at 87.0, which is woefully lower than 2 quarters average through 3Q 2015 at 91.6 and is well below 96.0 average for the historical series covering periods of robust economic expansions.
  • Expectations for the next 6 months sub-index is at 90.4 on the 2 quarters average basis, down from 103.5 2 quarters average through 3Q 2015 and below historical (expansion periods only) average of 101.5.

Geographically, per Ifo release: “The economic climate deteriorated in all regions, except in Oceania, Asia and Latin America. In Oceania the climate index stabilised at a low level, and in Asia and Latin America it edged upwards. The indicator is now below its long-term average in all regions, with the exception of Europe. The climate in the CIS states and the Middle East clouded over, especially due to poorer economic expectations. In Europe WES experts are slightly less positive about future economic developments than in October 2015. In North America and Africa, by contrast, the slightly less favourable economic situation led to a deterioration in the economic climate.”

You can see my analysis of the European index data here:

5/2/16: Ifo Economic Climate Index for Euro area: 1Q 2016

Ifo Economic Climate Index in the Euro Area has posted another contraction at the start of 1Q 2016 marking the third consecutive quarter of declines and reaching the lowest level since 1Q 2015. IFO Economic Climate Index (the headline index for the series) for the Euro area fell to 118.9 in 1Q 2016 from 122.0 in 4Q 2015. Activity signalled by the index, however, remains above the historical average at 107.5 an well above downturns-consistent average of 84.8.

The chart below shows index trends:

As highlighted in the chart above, EU Commission own sentiment index for economic activity is also pointing to weakening growth conditions in 1Q 2015. The EU Commission Sentiment Index was un a divergence to the Ifo index since the start of 2015.

Two core components of the Index also moderated in 1Q 2016. Present Situation sub-index fell from 153.8 for 4Q 2015 to 151.0 in 1Q 2016, marking the first quarter of contraction after four consecutive quarters of increases. The sub-index remains firmly ahead of the historical average of 127.5.

Perhaps the most worrying is the decline in Expectations for the next 6 months sub-index which fell from 103.3 in 4Q 2015 to 100.0 in 1Q 2016. This marks third consecutive quarter of declines in expectations and the index level currently is closer to the historical average of 95.8.

Overall, the gap between expectations forward and present conditions assessment has declined. Gap index (my own calculation) is now at 66.2 for 1Q 2016 against 67.2 in 4Q 2015. This suggests that weaker expectations are now starting to feed through to weaker present assessments.

A chart below illustrates the trends for sub-indices:

Per Ifo release: “Assessments of the current economic situation were most negative in Greece and Finland, but the current economic situation also remains strained in France, Italy and Cyprus. The situation was only slightly better in Spain, Portugal and Austria; but assessments for Austria were far less negative than last quarter. The sharpest recovery was seen in Ireland, where survey participants assessed the current economic situation as very good. In Germany the economic situation is considered to be good, although assessments were somewhat less favourable than last quarter.

The six-month economic outlook remains positive nearly everywhere. Economic expectations brightened in Austria, France, the Netherlands, Estonia and Latvia. In the other countries the outlook either remains unchanged, or is somewhat less positive. WES experts were only slight pessimistic about Greece, Portugal and Spain.”

4/1/16: Eurocoin signals flat 4Q 2015 growth in the Euro area

Euro area leading growth indicator Eurocoin, released by Banca d'Italia and CEPR, posted a reading of 0.45 in December, marking a rise from 0.37 in November and signalling some improvement in growth conditions. However, on 3mo average basis, 4Q 2015 reading came in at 0.393 against 3Q 2015 reading of 0.402. Given 3Q reading coincided with preliminary real GDP expansion of 0.3 percent, this suggests that actual growth did not tick up significantly from 3Q.

Overall, from both growth and inflation points of view, the ECB policies remain ineffective:

Overall, per Eurocoin release, the upside to the indicator in December was provided by  household consumption, labour market performance and the upturn in industrial production. In other words, we have domestic demand-driven growth, which is a net positive compared to the first half of 2015 when growth still relied predominantly on financial markets valuations and exports.