Europe will see a “sharp slowdown” in economic growth this year, but most countries will avoid a recession, the director of the International Monetary Fund’s European department told AFP.
IMF forecasts published earlier this week predict the Euro area will grow by 0.8 percent this year, although Germany is now expected to enter a mild recession.
The slight improvement for the Euro area from the IMF’s previous forecast in January is down to a warmer-than-expected winter and “decisive policy action by policymakers,” Alfred Kammer said in an interview.
“What this winter showed was policy action actually achieved results,” he said.
The IMF now expects Euro area economic growth to materialize later this year before speeding up further in 2024, Kammer said.
“There is certainly in some countries a recession risk, but it’s very different from what we foresaw and feared for, even in January,” he said.
Germany is the only Euro area country the IMF now forecasts will enter recession this year.
A downward revision in its growth forecast from January means Germany will join the UK as the only G7 economy expected to shrink in 2023.
Much of Germany’s contraction comes down to the ongoing economic impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Kammer said.
Russia sharply reduced gas exports to Europe, forcing policymakers to look elsewhere for supplies of the crucial energy source.
“Germany is more affected than other countries by the energy crisis because their dependence on Russian gas was much more than other European countries,” Kammer said.
“That explains really, the slowdown we are seeing,” in Germany, he added.