European Commission says Irish economy to grow 4.8 pct in 2017

The report suggests a deal could be completed by November 2018

As the euro area economy continues to grow at its fastest pace in a decade, surpassing expectations, the EU Commission forecasts growth of 2.2 per cent this year, up 0.5 per cent on predictions in the spring.

Macron is now pushing through significant labor reforms in France and hopes around those reforms, combined with his repeated calls for enhanced European economic cooperation and consolidation, have helped push growth expectations for France for 2017 up to 1.6 percent from the earlier 1.4 percent. Autumn forecast of 2017 marks 18 straight quarters of growth and survey evidence points to continued solid expansion of the eurozone economy. It is expected to continue to expand at an average rate of 4 per cent over the next two years.

The EC also forecast 3.8 per cent growth for Bulgaria in 2018 (up from 2.8 per cent in the spring forecast) and 3.6 per cent in 2019.

The increase follows the International Monetary Fund upping Turkey's 2017 growth forecast 2.6 percentage points on October 10, the World Bank raising its forecast 0.4 percentage points on October 19 and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's [EBRD] lifting it by 2.6 percentage points on November 7.

The government 2017 balance is expected to remain in surplus at 0.9% of GDP.

Moscovici explained that the improved prospects were due to "resilient private consumption, stronger growth around the world, and falling unemployment". The labour market is recovering fast and unemployment is expected to drop further, although average wages may increase only gradually.


"Investment is also picking up amid favourable financing conditions and considerably brightened economic sentiment as uncertainty has faded".

The commission said dark clouds that did exist included the outcome of Brexit talks beween European Union and Britain as well as geopolitical tensions between the USA and North Korea.

Private consumption is believed to become the main driver of growth on the back of an increasing population and growing disposable income; with domestic demand playing a secondary role to external demand.

In the coming months and years, the Commission noted, "business investment is projected to remain subdued following a period of heightened uncertainty, while net export growth is forecast to moderate marginally, in line with export markets".

The Commission expects an export recovery in the second half of this year, after somewhat weaker results in the second quarter, thanks to high external demand and further integration into European Union markets. The eurozone is seen expanding to 2.1% in 2018-still up from a previous expectation of 1.8%-with the growth rate dipping to 1.9% in 2019, when Britain will leave the EU.

France's debt was still high at 96.9 percent and would remain at that level through 2019.

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