- Growth in the EBRD regions in 2023 revised up to 2.4 per cent
- Growth in 2024 projected to pick up to 3.2 per cent
- Inflation down to an average of 9.7 per cent in July 2023
In Central Asia and parts of the Caucasus region, the stronger economic performance is expected to result from solid trade growth and high levels of remittances from Russia. In emerging Europe, the deceleration reflects high energy prices, persistent inflation (averaging 9.7 per cent in the EBRD regions in July 2023) and slow growth in advanced Europe.
EBRD regions’ overall forecast
Growth in the EBRD regions is expected to slow to 2.4 per cent in 2023 from 3.3 in 2022. In 2024, as inflation continues to ease, growth is expected to pick up to 3.2 per cent. The figures reflect an upward revision of 0.2 percentage point to May’s forecast for 2023 and a downward revision of 0.2 per cent to the forecast for the following year.
EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik said: “Our economists see a diverging pattern of growth among the EBRD regions. The robust growth of the economies of Central Asia and the weaker performance of those in central Europe and the Baltic states reflect the different consequences of energy prices, inflation and shifting patterns of trade.”
There are a number of trends influencing the latest economic forecast.
Gas consumption in emerging Europe fell by more than 20 per cent in the winter of 2022-23 as the reduced supply of gas from Russia resulted in much higher energy prices. Oil and gas prices, though back to below levels preceding the war on Ukraine, continue to weigh on the region’s growth.
European industry has shifted away from gas-intensive sectors, such as construction materials, chemicals, basic metals and paper, while increasing production in less carbon-intensive sectors, such as electrical equipment, car manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.
In Poland, for example, basic metals production declined by 18 per cent year on year, while electrical equipment production increased by 21 per cent year on year.
Overall, total industrial output in Europe has been lower than expected, contributing to slower economic growth. Nevertheless, the labour market has remained resilient, with companies retaining jobs despite large changes in the structure of output. And, amid high inflation, nominal wages have increased rapidly in many economies. In some cases, such as in the Baltic states and Hungary, wage increases have outpaced productivity growth, reducing competitiveness.
In contrast, growth in the economies of Central Asia and certain countries in the Caucasus remained strong year on year in 2022 and the first half of 2023. This was due to intermediated trade to and from Russia, as well as high levels of migration to and subsequent remittances from Russia, which underpinned robust real wage growth.
In central Europe and the Baltic states, where high costs for food and energy tightened households’ budgets and small and medium-sized enterprises’ access to finance for investment has been reduced, growth is expected to average 0.5 per cent in 2023, down from 3.9 per cent in 2022, and rise to 2.5 per cent in 2024.
A weaker external environment and the impact of inflation in EBRD economies in the south-eastern European Union is expected to lead to growth of 2 per cent in 2023 and a pick-up to 2.8 per cent in 2024.
In the Western Balkans, the effect of weakening trade with Eurozone partners at the beginning of 2023 was partly offset by the strong performance of the tourism sector in the region’s service-based economies. Gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow by 2 per cent in 2023 and reach 3.4 per cent in 2024.
Growth in Central Asia is forecast to remain robust, at 5.7 per cent in 2023 and 5.9 per cent in 2024. Drivers include government spending, China’s demand for commodities, intermediated trade with and exports to Russia, and remittances and the relocation of companies from Russia.
In Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, economies have been adjusting to the extreme shock caused by the war on Ukraine. The forecast sees GDP growth of 1.9 per cent in 2023 and a rise to 3.1 per cent in 2024.
In Ukraine, GDP growth of 1 per cent is expected for 2023, reflecting a sharp year-on-year contraction in the first quarter. This is likely to be followed by an increase of 3 per cent in 2024.
Growth in Türkiye is forecast at 3.5 per cent in 2023 and 3 per cent in 2024. The 1 percentage-point upward revision from the previous forecast reflects pre-election fiscal stimulus, though growth is expected to slow in the second half of the year.
Output in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region* is expected to grow by 3.7 per cent in 2023 and 3.9 per cent in 2024, with the downward revisions from the previous forecasts reflecting delays to structural reforms and increased fiscal and external vulnerabilities.
* These forecasts do not include the potential effects of the September 2023 earthquake in Morocco, as the likely impact on overall economic activity remains difficult to gauge at this stage.
|Table 1. Real GDP growth, in per cent per annum|
|Actual||Actual||Forecast (Sep'23)||Revision since May'23|
|Central Europe and the Baltic states||-3.5||6.4||3.9||-0.5||0.5||2.5||0.0||-0.4|
|Eastern Europe and the Caucasus||-4.6||5.3||-13.0||-4.2||1.9||3.1||0.0||-0.2|
|South Eastern EU||-5.7||7.0||4.9||2.0||2.0||2.8||-0.3||-0.2|
|Southern and Eastern Mediterranean||-1.7||6.2||3.3||3.7||3.7||3.9||0.1||-0.5|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||-3.1||7.5||4.1||1.1||e||1.5||3.0||-0.5||0.0|
|Memo: Egypt (fiscal year to June)||3.6||3.3||6.6||4.1||4.1||4.8||0.1||0.0|
Source: National authorities and EBRD. Notes: Weights are based on the values of gross domestic product in 2022 at market exchange rates. Where H1 is not yet available ‘e’ refers to Q1 numbers (and the May 2023 forecast for Lebanon).