Category Archive: 2) Swiss and European Macro

Main Author George Dorgan
George Dorgan
George Dorgan (penname) predicted the end of the EUR/CHF peg at the CFA Society and at many occasions on SeekingAlpha.com and on this blog. Several Swiss and international financial advisors support the site. These firms aim to deliver independent advice from the often misleading mainstream of banks and asset managers. George is FinTech entrepreneur, financial author and alternative economist. He speak seven languages fluently.

Euro area’s initial growth figures for Q3 prove disappointing

While growth in France rebounded, Italy stalled in Q3. Our full-year forecast for the euro area remains unchanged but is clearly at risk.According to initial estimates, growth in the euro area slowed in Q3 to 0.2% q-o-q (quarter on quarter) from 0.4% in Q2. These latest GDP results were below consensus expectations and our own forecast.

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KOF Economic Barometer: Upswing Sets a More Leisurely Pace

In August 2018, the KOF Economic Barometer fell slightly by 1.4 points to a new reading of 100.3. It thus now pints to a level that is only marginally above its long-term average. Accordingly, in the near future Swiss growth should hover around its average over the last ten years.

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Credit Conditions in the Euro Area Remain Supportive of Investment Recovery

Investment is an important driver of the business cycle and a key determinant of potential growth. In the euro area, total investment makes up about 20% of GDP. Construction, machinery and equipment (including weapons systems), intellectual property rights and agricultural products account, respectively, for 48%, 32%, 18% and 2% of total investment.

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Contrasting growth in cantonal GDP in 2016

After a moderate 2015, economic growth increased slightly in most Swiss cantons in 2016. The most pronounced growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) was seen in the cantons of Vaud (+7.4%) and Schaffhausen (+4.2%). These results are taken from initial estimates of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

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Gloomy Signals for Euro Area Manufacturing

The euro area economy started the fourth quarter on a weak note; the flash composite PMI dipped to 52.7 in October from 54.1 in September. Both manufacturing and services showed a notable loss of momentum. A common feature in France and Germany was the weakness in manufacturing, where both countries posted similar declines.

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Swiss Banks Curb China Travel After UBS Banker Arrested

Two major Swiss banks imposed restrictions on staff travel to China after a UBS employee was detained in the country, underscoring the challenges of doing business in a country which is a mecca for banks eager to capture and manage (for a generous fee) the fastest growing fortunes in the world, yet are challenged by a regime that tramples over civil rights.

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Bumpy Road Ahead for Italian Budget

Rome’s budget plans put it on a collision course with the European Commission. The Italian government has submitted its 2019 draft budget plan (DBP) to the European Commission. The proposed DBP is not in line with European Union rules and sets the government on a collision course with the European authorities.

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Swiss Trade Balance Q3 2018: First Decline in Foreign Trade Over the Last Seven Quarters

After a year and a half of continued growth in Swiss foreign trade, exports in the third quarter of 2018 contracted by 2.9% compared with the previous quarter's record. However, they remained above the 54 billion franc mark. Evolving at a high level, imports fell by 1.5% (-768 million francs). The trade balance closes with a surplus of 3.5 billion francs.

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Devil is in the details: Italian and French deficits are not quite comparable

Italy’s structural weakness explain higher level of concern around its deficit target.Each EU member state is currently preparing 2019 budget plans for formal submission to the European Commission (EC) before mid- October. Among them, France and Italy’s budget plans have been raising eyebrows. Why is the EC concerned about Italy’s proposed 2.4% GDP deficit target for 2019 and not France’s target of 2.8%?

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Swiss Producer and Import Price Index in September 2018: +2.6 percent YoY, -0.2 percent MoM

The Producer and Import Price Index fell in September 2018 by 0.2% compared with the previous month, reaching 103.2 points (December 2015 = 100). The decline is due in particular to lower prices for scrap. Compared with September 2017, the price level of the whole range of domestic and imported products rose by 2.6%. These are some of the findings from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

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Squaring off over the Italian budget

The Italian government’s budget plans set it on a collision course with the European Commission. The road to some kind of agreement is likely to be long and bumpy. The Italian government has confirmed its deficit target at 2.4% of GDP for 2019. This represents significant slippage from a previous budget deficit target of 0.8% in 2019.

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German September PMIs surprisingly weak

Recent German soft and hard data in the manufacturing sector has been surprisingly weak. Data released today showed that the final manufacturing PMI fell to 53.7 in September, from 55.9 in August. Factory orders rose by 2.0% month-on-month (m-o-m) in August, having contracted for six out of the seven previous months.

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Swiss Consumer Price Index in September 2018: +1.0 percent YoY, +0.1 percent MoM

The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.1% in September 2018 compared with the previous month, reaching 101.9 points (December 2015 = 100). Inflation was 1.0% compared with the same month of the previous year. These are the results of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

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Further consolidation of EUR/USD rate likely

Short-term noise means we are neutral on the euro over the next three months, but see potential for its gradual appreciation against the dollar thereafterWe have long argued that growth and interest rate differentials are two key components for the direction of the US dollar. Both these drivers should continue to support the dollar over the short term.

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Chinese PMI data points to further growth moderation

More policy support is expected, and may lead to slight rebound in Q4.China’s manufacturing PMIs softened further in September, indicating that growth momentum is likely continued to moderate in Q3 and that the weakness may extend into Q4.In response to the weakening growth momentum, especially in the context of escalating trade tensions with the US, the Chinese government has turned to policy easing since June.

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Italy tests the EU’s tolerance

The populist government’s plans to increase the deficit could set it on a collision course with Brussels. We remain bearish Italian bonds and euro peripheral bonds in general.Leaders of Italy’s coalition government and the finance minister yesterday agreed on a 2.4% GDP deficit target. The new target is higher than our expectation of a deficit “above but close to 2.0%” in 2019.

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Swiss Retail Sales, August 2018: +1.1 percent Nominal and +0.4 percent Real

Turnover in the retail sector rose by 1.1% in nominal terms in August 2018 compared with the previous year. Seasonally adjusted, nominal turnover rose by 0.3% compared with the previous month.

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A bit too early to be worried about French consumers

Despite the recent fall in French consumer confidence, spending should pick up in the second half of the year. The French economy disappointed in the first half of this year. While there was a widespread ‘soft patch’ in the euro area, the source and size of the slowdown in France stands out. The real GDP growth rate fell by 0.5 points, much more than the rest of the euro area. Moreover, while the slowdown in the other countries was mainly due to...

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Credit Growth Remains Buoyant in the Euro Area

Financial conditions remain supportive and are not expected to tighten much in the coming months. Lending to non-financial corporations in the euro grew by an annual 4.2% in August, its fastest rate since April 2009. Forward-looking indicators suggest that euro area credit growth should remain strong over the coming months.

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Business Indicators Present a Contrasting Picture of the Euro Area

Euro area flash composite PMI dipped slightly to in September and came in slightly below consensus expectations. Activity in services picked up and weakened further in manufacturing, which continued its decline since the start of the year, falling to 53.3 in September from 54.6 in August. New export orders failed to grow for the first time since June 2013.

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