ECB's Borrowing Costs Affecting Households
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, fuel prices surged, impacting people in the 20 eurozone countries. They are now starting to feel the effects of the ECB's significant increase in borrowing costs.
Euro Zone Growth Hindered by Inflation
Economic output in the eurozone grew by only 0.1% in the first quarter, with domestic consumption stagnating in many economies. This suggests that high inflation and decreasing real incomes are negatively impacting consumers.
Exports Drive Euro Zone Growth
"Growth in the eurozone primarily came from exports, a result of the revival in global trade as China resumed business after the pandemic.
ECB Expected to Continue Raising Interest Rates
National data revealed persistent high price growth, likely forcing the ECB to maintain interest rate hikes. The central bank is expected to raise rates for the seventh consecutive meeting on May 4.
Slow Progress in Inflation Reduction
Inflation data shows slow progress in reducing inflation rates across the eurozone. However, there were signs that food prices may be easing in France and Spain, which could provide some relief for the ECB.
IMF Recommends Further Rate Hikes
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) called for the ECB to continue raising interest rates until mid-2024 and encouraged European Union finance ministers to tighten fiscal policy to address high inflation.
Rate Hikes May Impact Economic Growth
Economists warn that rate increases by the ECB and other central banks could slow economic growth and even push the eurozone into recession.
Trade Boosts Southern European Economies
Southern European economies, including Italy, Spain, and Portugal, experienced growth between 0.3% and 0.5% in the first quarter of the year, primarily driven by a boost in trade.