Today, SEB published the year’s first survey of the Nordic economies (Nordic Outlook). Ruta Arumäe, Chief Economist at SEB, comments:
Risks in the global economy have declined slightly but have not yet disappeared. Risks emanating from the United States and China have declined, which has the potential to cause the global economy to start inching upward. That said, the crisis in the euro zone continues, tangled up in a big jumble of issues, presenting, on top of the debt crisis, also political challenges and a host of other issues. On the whole in the euro zone, we are expecting near-zero growth in 2013/2014.
Global growth is being held back by increased uncertainty in economic policy and, in the Western world, the continued reduction of debt.
Nonetheless, the global economy is exhibiting the first positive signs, above all a rise in optimism. This, alas, has yet to translate into the indicators for the real economy. Prospective indicators, however, suggest that an improvement could happen early this year.
Rising optimism has also been helped along by the increasing responsibility assumed by central banks in generating growth and by the decline in tensions in the financial sector. Processes are unfolding in the right direction, albeit very slowly.
Late last year, in Europe, the economic indicators were very weak, with the economies in Germany and Sweden contracting, amongst other things. At the same time, Estonia’s exports held up very well, increasing approximately 4 per cent. In our opinion, global growth bottomed out late last year.
The strongest Nordic economies are Norway and Sweden. In Finland and Denmark, the situation is worryingly weak.
Our forecasts for Estonia are unchanged. So far, it has all been going pretty much as expected.