Fabian Demicoli

Winter 2014 forecast: recovery gaining ground


The steady economic recovery in
most Member States and in the EU as a whole will continue, according to the
European Commission's winter forecast of 25 February. After exiting the
recession in spring 2013 and posting three consecutive quarters of subdued recovery,
the economy is set for a moderate step-up in economic growth.

Following real GDP growth
of 1.5% in the EU and 1.2% in the euro area in 2014, economic activity is seen
accelerating in 2015 to 2.0% and 1.8% respectively. These figures each represent
an upward revision of 0.1 percentage points compared with the autumn 2013
forecast.

A modest rise in
employment is expected from this year onwards while consumer price inflation is
expected to remain subdued. Diminishing uncertainty should underpin stronger
demand, which is expected to become the key driver of growth as deleveraging
pressures, funding constraints as well as internal and external adjustment
needs gradually subside.

According to the
Forecast, Malta has the strongest employment growth among all EU Member States.
Malta has also the fourth lowest unemployment rate and retains strong growth
projections. The revision of deficit figures follows two consecutive forecasts
which predicted a deficit in excess of 3% for 2013 and 2014. This is now revised
positively to 3% in 2013, and 2.7% in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

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