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European Industrial Outlook: Deepening Regional Disparities

Most industrial sectors in the Eurozone have emerged from recession, but the continent is experiencing deepening regional disparities in economic performance, according to the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation’s European Industrial Outlook, a report covering 14 major industries and 13 major economies.

The report separately analyzes the distinct regions of Western Europe and Central Europe. The former generally comprises the 18 countries of the currency union (eurozone), while the latter constitutes the three largest economies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE3): the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Italy, Finland and the Netherlands languish in effective recessions while Poland, Germany and the United Kingdom power ahead amid improving fiscal balances and rising consumer confidence.

MAPI senior economist and report author Kris Bledowski forecasts GDP in the Eurozone to advance 1.1 percent in 2014 and 1.4 percent in 2015. Within the CEE3, he envisions GDP growth of 2.4 percent in 2014 and 2.9 percent in 2015.

“Domestic demand remains feeble. Signs accumulate that fixed investment is slowly perking up but inventory swings pull down the overall pace of capital formation,” Bledowski said. “On the other hand, manufacturing production rose in each of the past five months and is running just over 3 percent over the level of a year ago in the European Union and just under 3 percent in the eurozone.”

Manufacturing production is expected to grow by 2 percent in the eurozone this year and 2.6 percent in 2015, while the CEE3 is forecast to increase 5.5 percent in 2014 and 5.4 percent in 2015.

Bledowski reports that 11 of 14 industries the report monitors are in the accelerating growth (recovery) phase of the business cycle in the eurozone. Three – petroleum, computers and electronics, and electrical machinery – are in the decelerating decline (late recession or very mild recession) phase.

In Central Europe, 12 industries are in accelerating growth, one (fabricated metals) is in decelerating growth and one (petroleum and coke) is in decelerating decline.

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