While Mario Draghi kept talking justifying the course of ECB policy decisions (or indecisions, as some might want to put), the ECB released staff projections for GDP growth. Here they are, in full glory:
So, that poverty of low aspirations has now been firmly replaced by the circular forecasts: 2015: 1.5% to 1.4% to 1.5%; 2016: 1.9% to 1.7% to 17.%, 2017: 2.1% to 1.8% to 1.9%, whilst inflation expectations are now ‘anchored’ in the proverbial ditch. Meanwhile, Mr Draghi says:
Just as the Euro went through the roof on USD side and with it, Europe's 'exports-led recovery' went belly up.
Though never mind. The bigger headache (that few Europeans can even spot) is that the ECB forecasts are talking about 'growth' at below 2 percent with all this QE and with inflation at extremely low end. Which makes the whole exercise of monetary and fiscal policies activism... err... academic. For as far as I know, no donkeys are allowed to compete in Kentucky Derby.
Eurocoin for November - euro area's leading growth indicator - remained basically flat at 0.37, rising only marginally from 0.36 in October. Both months are posting readings below 3mo and 6mo averaged (0.373 and 0.392), signalling growth at around Q2-Q3 2015 average.
In summary: little evidence in growth acceleration from 3Q 2015 levels. It is worth noting that preliminary growth estimate for 3Q 2015 came in at 0.3%, joint-lowest since 2Q 2014 (3Q 2014 growth was identical to 3Q 2015). This stands contrasted to today's Markit Manufacturing PMI for Eurozone which posted a reading of 52.8 for November (moderately strong expansion) up on 52.3 in October.
It is worth noting that both PMIs and Eurocoin have posted over-estimates of actual growth conditions in recent months.
Eurocoin - a leading growth indicator for Euro area economy published by CEPR and Banca d'Italia - posted second consecutive monthly decline in October, falling to 0.36 from 0.39 in September and down from the recent peak of 0.43 registered in August. This is the weakest reading for the indicator in 6 months.
For what it is worth, the ECB remains stuck in a proverbial monetary corner:
While in historical terms, growth signal of 0.36% (and annualised average over the last 12 months of 1.58%) is above long term average (annualised average growth over the last 15 years of 1.03% or over the last 5 years of 0.57%), growth remains anaemic by all possible comparatives beyond the Euro area.
You can see the less than pleasant specifics on eurocoin drivers for October here: http://eurocoin.cepr.org/index.php?q=node/243. In the nutshell, things are static across all major sectors, with households' optimism is largely flattening; and if we ignore the European Commission survey signals, things are poor for the industrial sector.
An interesting chart highlighting the poor prospects for inflationary expectations in both Euro area and the U.S. via Pictet:
Here’s Picket analysis (comments and emphasis are mine): “In September, headline inflation in the euro area dipped back into negative territory (-0.1% y-o-y) for the first time in six months.
"This weakness must be put into context though as it is primarily due to the steep slide in energy prices. If volatile components (food and energy) are stripped out, core inflation was steady at +0.9% y-o-y. Furthermore, prices of services, which better reflect domestic conditions, rose.
"Nonetheless, falling commodity prices, coupled with the rise in the euro’s trade-weighted value, caused the inflation outlook to worsen. Long-run inflationary expectations, as measured by the break-even swap rate, have been softening steadily since early July and have now reached their lowest level (1.56%) since February this year.
…In parallel, findings from economic and business surveys (PMIs, European Commission surveys) for the third quarter showed decent resilience despite the worries about the Chinese economy. They point to GDP growth of around 0.4% q-o-q in Q3 and Q4.”
Picket projects growth of 1.5% y/y for 2015, “led by domestic demand” that is expected to “continue to benefit from normalisation of the jobs market, subdued inflation, the gradual revival in consumer confidence and an upturn in lending to the private sector.”
In short, sensible view of inflation - low inflation, per Pictet is helping, not hurting the euro economy.