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What Happened? - Europe

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Please see below selected pre-2016 ntelligence about the Asia Pacific region. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at competitors, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers in our external environment.

 

December 2015

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November 2015

 

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  • It's been a difficult year for the EU, concluded The Economist Intelligence Unit. Europe is facing not one, but three, existential crises: a monetary crisis, a borders crisis, and a political crisis. While an immediate exit of Greece from the Euro has been averted, expect that to come back by the end of the decade. Greece's debt is still unsustainable, and the political barriers to a realistic write-down are as insurmountable as ever. On borders, the influx of refugees is testing the limits of national delegation and cooperation, as well as of the principle of free movement of people. Finally, one of Europe's largest countries—the UK—is getting ready for a referendum that could well see it leave the Union.

 

 

  • The European Parliament published a background briefing which sets out the extent to which banking supervisors and banks' external auditors currently exchange information, and explains why in future they shall establish a more formal effective dialogue (article 12 of the Audit Regulation). Responsibilities for the enforcement of accounting rules and the review of accounting rules (expected loss model under IFRS 9) are briefly set out as well.

 

 

 

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  • Meanwhile, domestic politics are in turmoil in the aftermath of the deadly events, with President Hollande using them to increase his authority, argued Eurasia Group, forecasting that his government will use them to justify more deficit spending; and that the centre-right will suffer in upcoming regional elections from divisions exposed by the attacks.

 

 

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  • Luxembourg, the country once known as the European ''Death Star'' of financial secrecy, is looking to improve its image. Buffeted by the accusations that it was helping multinational corporations evade billions of dollars in taxes, the country has embarked on a long-term rebranding effort that the government hopes will help the world see it with different eyes. The effort has yet to yield a catchy slogan, but it may not matter. Unless you remember similar exercises that centred on the themes ''The eternal and fascinating Romania,'' or ''I feel SLOVEnia,'' your image of Luxembourg is probably set. This is not the view of a cynical resident or just another analyst. This is the opinion of the man who coined the phrase ''nation branding'' in the 1990s.

 

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  • British Prime Minister David Cameron sent a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk on the reforms he wants to the UK’s relationship with the EU. Key elements of renegotiation included: Protection of the single market for Britain and other non-eurozone countries; Boosting competitiveness; Allowing Britain to opt out of the EU’s ambition to forge an “ever closer union,” and strengthening the role of national parliaments; and Restricting access to benefits for EU migrants.

 

  • UK GDP rose by 0.5% in the three months to September, down from 0.7% in the second quarter. The slowdown is being led by the manufacturing sector, which is seeing a renewed recession as output has now fallen for three consecutive quarters, suffering a 0.3% decline in the three months to September.

 

 

 

 

October 2015

 

 

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September 2015

 

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  • Portugal revised its budget deficit for 2014 up to 7.2% of GDP from 4.5% after adding the cost of its bail-out of Banco Espírito Santo to the national accounts. It had hoped it could avoid including the cost, but the collapse of the sale of BES’s surviving “good bank” forced it to adjust the public books. The country remains on course for a deficit of 2.7% this year.

 

 

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  • UK annual inflation rate dipped to zero in August. It has now been 0.1% or lower for seven months, even though growth is robust and wages are rising, somewhat undermining the claim in February by Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, that “this is a temporary phenomenon”. Inflation in the euro zone was meanwhile revised down to 0.1%.

 

 

 

August 2015

 

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  • The eurozone’s economy grew by 0.3% from April to June by comparison with the previous three months, slightly less than the 0.4% that it registered in the first quarter. The surprisingly feeble showing comes despite the European Central Bank launching a big bond-buying programme in March and a depreciated euro, which should boost exports. Germany’s GDP expanded by just 0.4% in the quarter and France recorded zero growth. Still, Greece grew by 0.8% and Spain by 1%. The currency bloc remains on course for its best annual economic performance since 2011.

 

 

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  • Russia’s economy contracted by 4.6% in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2014, the largest drop in six years, marking the country’s first recession since the financial crisis in 2009. The Federal Statistics Office did not offer any details with its first estimate, but analysts said the preliminary figure was likely to be revised downward as sectoral statistics — which includes retail sales, industrial production and household incomes — pointed to an even steeper drop in real terms. The contraction was slightly worse than analysts’ consensus estimate. Economists warned that the renewed slide in oil prices, which has pushed the rouble lower, would make a quick recovery even more unlikely.

 

 

 

July 2015

 

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  • According to the Eurozone Chartbook for July 2015 from Oxford Economics, momentum in the Eurozone remains positive. Growth in Q1 was strong compared to the average of the past five years, at 0.4% over the quarter. The latest activity data suggest that the eurozone recovery has, if anything, gained further momentum in Q2. Oxford's GDP indicator points to quarterly GDP growth of about 0.5% in the second quarter. However, the pace of recovery is likely to remain very different across member states and even stronger exports and investment will not be in a position to significantly boost growth until next year.

 

 

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  • Netherlands' export-driven economy has suffered as a result of the Eurozone crisis, according to Eurasia Group. In 2014 the economy emerged from a recession in which GDP contracted by 0.7% in 2013. After 0.9% growth in 2014, the Dutch economy is expected to grow 1.6% in 2015 and 1.7% in 2016. Unemployment has increased significantly; it peaked in 2014 at 7.4%. It is now expected to start to recover and drop slightly to 7.1% in 2015 and 6.9% in 2016.

 

 

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  • PwC launched its latest UK Economic Outlook report. The report looks in detail at UK economic trends and prospects as well as the longer term challenges relating to housing supply and productivity growth. This is a regular report produced three times a year by the Economics & Policy UK team on behalf of PwC as a whole and complements the international projections in our monthly Global Economy Watch reports.

 

 

 

June 2015

 

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Timelines