Friday May 18 2018
Eurozone Trade Surplus Smaller than Expected in March
Eurostat | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The Euro Area trade surplus narrowed to EUR 26.9 billion in March 2018 from EUR 28.5 billion in the same month of the previous year, and missing market expectations of EUR 27.9 billion.

Exports of goods to the rest of the world dropped by 2.9 percent to EUR 199.9 billion in March from last year's all-time high of EUR 205.9 billion, while imports declined at a softer 2.5 percent to EUR 173.0 billion, also from a record high of EUR 177.4 billion in March 2017. Intra-euro area trade decreased 0.6 percent year-on-year to EUR 170.5 billion in March.

Considering the first quarter of the year, the trade surplus widened to EUR 49.4 billion from EUR 42.9 billion in the same period of 2017, as exports grew 2.5 percent to EUR 555.7 billion and imports increased 1.4 percent to EUR 506.3 billion.

Meanwhile, the European Union trade surplus widened to EUR 11.5 billion in March from EUR 8.7 billion a year ago. Exports went down 2.4 percent to EUR 172.1 billion from EUR 176.4 billion in March 2017, while imports fell 4.2 percent to EUR 160.6 billion from EUR 167.7 billion. 

In January-March, the EU trade deficit decreased to EUR 6.1 billion from EUR 9.1 billion in the same period of 2017. Exports went up 1.5 percent to EUR 471.4 billion, boosted by higher sales of chemicals (7.5 percent), other manufactured goods (3.1 percent), energy (2 percent); and machinery and vehicles (0.2 percent). By contrast, exports fell for both food and drink (-2.4 percent) and raw materials (-2.3 percent). Exports grew to the US (2.2 percent); China (0.6 percent); Russia (3 percent); Turkey (13.8 percent); but dropped to Switzerland (-5.3 percent). Imports rose at a slower 0.8 percent to EUR 477.4 billion, boosted by purchases of energy (5.5 percent), other manufactured goods (1.1 percent), and machinery and vehicles (1 percent). Meanwhile, imports fell for food and drink (-5.2 percent), chemicals (-3.9 percent) and raw materials (-1.5 percent). Imports rose mainly from China (3.1 percent), Turkey (6.8 percent) and Russia (0.5 percent), but declined from the US (-5.2 percent) and Switzerland (-4.9 percent).





Wednesday May 16 2018
Eurozone April Inflation Rate Confirmed at 1.2%
Eurostat | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The consumer price inflation rate in the Euro Area came in at 1.2 percent year-on-year in April 2018, unchanged from the preliminary estimate and slightly below 1.3 percent reported in the previous month.

Services inflation softened to 1 percent in April from 1.5 percent in the previous month. On the other hand, prices rose at a faster pace for: food, alcohol and tobacco (2.4 percent vs 2.1 percent), of which processed food, alcohol and tobacco (3 percent vs 2.9 percent) and unprocessed food (1.5 percent vs 0.8 percent); energy (2.6 percent vs 2 percent); and non-energy industrial goods (0.3 percent vs 0.2 percent).

Among Eurozone's largest economies, the highest annual rate was registered in France (1.8 percent), followed by Germany (1.4 percent), Spain (1.1 percent) and Italy (0.6 percent). 

Annual core inflation, which excludes volatile prices of energy, food, alcohol and tobacco and at which the ECB looks in its policy decisions, was confirmed at 0.7 percent in April, below the previous month's figure of 1 percent. It was the lowest core inflation rate since March 2017.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in April, easing from a 1 percent jump in March and matching market consensus.




Tuesday May 15 2018
Eurozone Industrial Output Rises at a Faster 3.0%
Eurostat | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Industrial production in the Euro Area rose by 3.0 percent year-on-year in March of 2018, following a downwardly revised 2.6 percent increase in the previous month but missing market expectations of a 3.7 percent gain. Output grew faster in all categories, except intermediate goods which rose less. On a monthly basis, output went up 0.5 percent, reversing from an upwardly revised 0.9 percent fall in February and below market expectations of a 0.7 percent rise.

Year-on-year, output grew significantly for: energy (8.1 percent vs 4.8 percent in February); capital goods (2.7 percent vs 2.1 percent) and durable consumer goods (2.6 percent vs 0.9 percent). In contrast, production slowed for intermediate goods (1.6 percent vs 2.5 percent) and non-durable consumer goods (1.8 percent vs 2.0 percent).

In the EU28, industrial output advanced 3.0 percent (2.9 percent in February), as output went up at a faster pace for: energy (7.9 percent vs 4.1 percent); capital goods (3.5 percent vs 3.2 percent) and durable consumer goods (2.6 percent vs 1.5 percent). On the other hand, production eased for intermediate goods (1.4 percent vs 2.8 percent) and non-durable consumer goods (1.2 percent vs 1.9 percent).

Among Member States for which data are available, the biggest gains in industrial production were registered in Lithuania (11.5 percent vs 2.1 percent), Estonia (7.6 percent vs 3.0 percent) and Finland (7.0 percent vs 2.8 percent), and the largest decline in Ireland (-14.7 percent vs -3.2 percent).

On a monthly basis, output rose 0.5 percent in March, reversing from an upwardly revised 0.9 percent fall in February while below market expectations of a a 0.7 percent rise. It was the first monthly gain in industrial activity since November, as production rebounded for durable consumer goods (1.5 percent vs -1.6 percent) and non-durable consumer goods (1.1 percent vs -1.0 percent) and shrank less for intermediate goods (-0.1 percent vs -0.9 percent) and capital goods (-0.6 percent vs -3.5 percent). Meanwhile, output slowed markedly for energy (0.8 percent vs 6.7 percent).

In the EU28, industrial production went up 0.4 percent, following a 0.7 percent decrease in February, as output recovered for durable consumer goods (1.3 percent vs -1.3 percent) and non-durable consumer goods (0.8 percent vs -0.8 percent) and it fell less for intermediate goods (-0.3 percent vs -1.0 percent) and capital goods (-0.2 percent vs -2.6 percent). Meanwhile, energy production grew much less (1.3 percent vs 5.1 percent).

Among Member States for which data are available, the main gains were recorded in Estonia (4.1 percent vs -1.5 percent), Portugal (3.7 percent vs -2.3 percent), Finland (2.3 percent vs -1.5 percent) and Greece (2.6 percent vs -2.0 percent) and the most significant decreases in Ireland (-7.0 percent vs -9.8 percent), Croatia (-4.3 percent vs 2.1 percent) and Latvia (-3.5 percent vs 3.8 percent).





Tuesday May 15 2018
Eurozone Q1 GDP Growth Confirmed at 0.4%
Eurostat | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The Eurozone's gross domestic product grew by 0.4 percent on quarter in the three months to March 2018, unrevised from the preliminary estimate and below 0.7 percent in the previous period.

Among countries for which data is already available, the GDP expanded at a softer pace in Germany (0.3 percent vs 0.6 percent in Q4), France (0.3 percent vs 0.7 percent), the Netherlands (0.5 percent vs 0.7 percent), Austria (0.7 percent vs 0.9 percent), Belgium (0.4 percent vs 0.5 percent), Portugal (0.4 percent vs 0.7 percent), Lithuania (0.8 percent vs 1.4 percent) and Cyprus (0.8 percent vs 1.1 percent). Meanwhile, GDP growth was unchanged in Italy (at 0.3 percent), Spain (at 0.7 percent) and Slovakia (at 0.9 percent); and picked up in Finland (1.1 percent vs 0.7 percent) and Latvia (1.7 percent vs 0.4 percent).

Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, the Eurozone economy expanded 2.5 percent, unrevised from the preliminary estimate and below 2.8 percent in the previous period.

Considering the European Union, the GDP growth eased to 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter (vs 0.6 percent in Q4) and to 2.4 percent year-on-year (vs 2.7 percent in Q4). 




Thursday May 03 2018
Eurozone April Inflation Rate Weaker than Expected
Eurostat | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The Eurozone consumer price inflation is expected to slow to 1.2 percent year-on-year in April 2018 from the previous month's 1.3 percent, and below market expectations of 1.3 percent. Prices of services should rise at a softer pace.

Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, services inflation should soften to 1 percent in April from 1.5 percent in the previous month. On the other hand, prices are expected to rise at a faster pace for: food, alcohol and tobacco (2.5 percent vs 2.1 percent), of which processed food, alcohol and tobacco (3.1 percent vs 2.9 percent) and unprocessed food (1.5 percent vs 0.8 percent); energy (2.5 percent vs 2 percent); and non-energy industrial goods (0.3 percent vs 0.2 percent).

Annual core inflation, which excludes volatile prices of energy and unprocessed food and tobacco and at which the ECB looks in its policy decisions, is expected to fall to 0.7 percent in April from 1 percent in March, also missing market consensus of 0.9 percent.


Wednesday May 02 2018
Euro Area Jobless Rate Steady at 9-Year Low
Eurostat | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The unemployment rate in the Euro Area was unchanged at 8.5 percent in March of 2018, the same as in February and in line with market expectations. It remains the lowest jobless rate since December of 2008, well below 9.4 percent a year earlier.

13.824 million people were unemployed in the Euro Area in March 2018, down by 83,000 from the previous month and by 1.414 million a year earlier.

Considering the European Union, the unemployment rate was flat at 7.1 percent, the same as in February and the lowest since September 2008. In March 2017, it was higher at 7.9 percent. 17.481 million men and women were unemployed, down by 94,000 from February and by 1.930 million from a year earlier. 

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates in March 2018 were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.2 percent), Malta (3.3 percent) and Germany (3.4 percent). The highest unemployment rates were observed in Greece (20.6 percent in January 2018) and Spain (16.1 percent).




Wednesday May 02 2018
Eurozone GDP Growth Slows to 0.4% in Q1
Eurostat | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The Eurozone economy grew 0.4 percent on quarter in the first three months of 2018, in line with market expectations and following an upwardly revised 0.7 percent expansion in the previous period, a preliminary flash estimate showed.

Among countries for which data is already available, GDP expanded at slower rates in: France (0.3 percent vs 0.7 percent in Q4); Austria (0.8 percent vs 0.9 percent); Belgium (0.4 percent vs 0.5 percent); and Lithuania (0.8 percent vs 1.4 percent). Meanwhile, GDP growth was unchanged in both Spain (at 0.7 percent) and Italy (at 0.3 percent). Germany, the biggest economy in the Euro Area, is expected to release preliminary GDP estimates in two weeks.

Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, the Euro Area economy expanded 2.5 percent in the three months to March, following an upwardly revised 2.8 percent growth in the previous period and matching market consensus.

Considering the European Union, GDP growth eased to 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter (vs 0.6 percent in Q4) and to 2.4 percent year-on-year (vs 2.7 percent in Q4).


Thursday April 26 2018
ECB Holds Rates as Expected
ECB | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The ECB held its benchmark refinancing rate at 0 percent on April 26th as expected, and reaffirmed that the net asset purchases are intended to run at a monthly pace of €30 billion until the end of September, or beyond, if necessary.

The deposit facility rate and the marginal lending facility rate were also left unchanged at -0.4 percent and 0.25 percent, respectively.

Excerpts from the Introductory statement to the press conference by Mario Draghi:

Regarding non-standard monetary policy measures, we confirm that our net asset purchases, at the current monthly pace of €30 billion, are intended to run until the end of September 2018, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim. The Eurosystem will continue to reinvest the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the asset purchase programme for an extended period of time after the end of its net asset purchases, and in any case for as long as necessary. This will contribute both to favourable liquidity conditions and to an appropriate monetary policy stance.

Following several quarters of higher than expected growth, incoming information since our meeting in early March points towards some moderation, while remaining consistent with a solid and broad-based expansion of the euro area economy. The underlying strength of the euro area economy continues to support our confidence that inflation will converge towards our inflation aim of below, but close to, 2% over the medium term. At the same time, measures of underlying inflation remain subdued and have yet to show convincing signs of a sustained upward trend. In this context, the Governing Council will continue to monitor developments in the exchange rate and other financial conditions with regard to their possible implications for the inflation outlook. Overall, an ample degree of monetary stimulus remains necessary for underlying inflation pressures to continue to build up and support headline inflation developments over the medium term. This continued monetary support is provided by the net asset purchases, by the sizeable stock of acquired assets and the ongoing and forthcoming reinvestments, and by our forward guidance on interest rates.

The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook remain broadly balanced. However, risks related to global factors, including the threat of increased protectionism, have become more prominent.

Euro area annual HICP inflation increased to 1.3% in March 2018, from 1.1% in February. This reflected mainly higher food price inflation. On the basis of current futures prices for oil, annual rates of headline inflation are likely to hover around 1.5% for the remainder of the year. Measures of underlying inflation remain subdued overall. Looking ahead, they are expected to rise gradually over the medium term, supported by our monetary policy measures, the continuing economic expansion, the corresponding absorption of economic slack and rising wage growth.




Wednesday April 18 2018
Eurozone March Inflation Rate Revised Lower to 1.3%
Eurostat | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The consumer price inflation in the Euro Area came in at 1.3 percent year-on-year in March 2018, slightly below the preliminary estimate of 1.4 percent and compared with 1.1 percent reported in the previous month. Prices of food, alcohol & tobacco rose less than initially thought.

Food, alcohol and tobacco prices rose 2.1 percent in March, compared with a flash 2.2 percent and 1 percent in the previous month, as unprocessed food prices rebounded 0.8 percent (vs flash 0.9 percent and February's -0.9 percent) and processed food, alcohol and tobacco cost increased 2.9 percent (vs flash 3 percent and February's 2.3 percent). Also, services inflation picked up to 1.5 percent from 1.3 percent in the previous period. Meanwhile, prices rose at a softer pace for both non-energy industrial goods (0.2 percent vs 0.6 percent) and energy (2 percent vs 2.1 percent).

Among Eurozone's largest economies, the highest annual rate was registered in France (1.7 percent), followed by Germany (1.5 percent), Spain (1.3 percent) and Italy (0.9 percent). 

Annual core inflation, which excludes volatile prices of energy, food, alcohol and tobacco and at which the ECB looks in its policy decisions, was confirmed at 1 percent in March, the same as in the previous month.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 1 percent in March, following a 0.2 percent gain in February and matching market consensus.


Friday April 13 2018
Eurozone February Trade Surplus Smaller Than Expected
Eurostat | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The Euro Area trade surplus widened to EUR 18.9 billion in February 2018 from EUR 16.1 billion in the same month of the previous year, but missing market expectations of EUR 20.2 billion.

Exports of goods to the rest of the world rose by 3 percent to EUR 177.5 billion in February from EUR 172.3 billion a year earlier, while imports advanced at a slower 1.5 percent to EUR 158.6 billion from EUR 156.2 billion. Intra-euro area trade rose 3.9 percent year-on-year to EUR 153.7 billion in February.

Considering the first two months of the year, the trade surplus widened to EUR 22.4 billion from EUR 14.5 billion in the same period of 2017, as exports grew 5.9 percent to EUR 356.2 billion and imports increased 3.8 percent to EUR 333.8 billion.

Meanwhile, the European Union trade surplus widened to EUR 3.3 billion in February from EUR 0.2 billion a year ago. Exports went up 1.7 percent to EUR 149.2 billion from EUR 146.7 billion in February 2017, while imports fell 0.4 percent to EUR 145.9 billion from EUR 146.5 billion. 

In January-February, the trade deficit decreased to EUR 17.1 billion from EUR 17.5 billion in the same period of 2017. Imports rose 3.6 percent to EUR 316.8 billion, boosted by purchases of energy (5.3 percent); raw materials (3.9 percent); machinery and vehicles (3.8 percent); and other manufactured goods (4.7 percent). Meanwhile, imports fell for both chemicals (-1.8 percent); and food and drink (-2.7 percent). Imports rose mainly from China (6 percent) and Turkey (7.1 percent), but declined from the US (-3.3 percent), Switzerland (-4.9 percent) and Russia (-0.4 percent). Exports went up 4 percent to EUR 299.7 billion, boosted by higher sales of energy (1.8 percent); raw materials (3.7 percent); other manufactured goods (6.4 percent); machinery and vehicles (4.1 percent); chemicals (10.3 percent); and food and drink (0.5 percent). Exports grew to the US (2.2 percent); China (3.8 percent); Russia (4.9 percent); Turkey (18.9 percent); but dropped to Switzerland (-8.5 percent).