The European Commission (EC) has slashed its growth forecast for the 19 countries that use the euro. It said even the lower estimate was vulnerable to large uncertainty from slowing growth in China and weakening global trade.
The EC is now expecting growth of 1.3 percent this year, down from 1.9 percent previously. It estimated that the eurozone could have grown by 1.9 percent last year, slowing from a 10-year high of 2.4 percent in 2017.
“A high level of uncertainty surrounds the economic outlook,” said the report. “Trade tensions, which have been weighing on sentiment for some time, have alleviated somewhat but remain a concern.”
It added that “China’s economy may be slowing more sharply than anticipated and global financial markets and many emerging markets are vulnerable to abrupt changes in risk sentiment and growth expectations.”
The possibility of a disruptive Brexit creates additional uncertainty, according to the commission’s Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis.
The EC stressed that it simply couldn’t predict how bad any of the problem areas –including Brexit, the US-Chinese trade war, and financial markets – could turn out to be.
The health of the German economy is also among the major concerns, according to the report. The country’s 2019 forecast was cut to 1.1 percent from 1.8 percent “as a result of weakening export growth” and “disappointing” domestic consumption, Moscovici said.
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