MacroEconomic Bulletin - September 2022

21th September of 2022

1. GLOBAL OUTLOOK

Slight moderation of inflation in the United States and the United Kingdom. US inflation slowed in year-on-year terms to +8.3% in August (+8.5% in July), although higher than initially expected (+8,1%). However, in monthly terms, prices resumed their upward trend (+0.1% mom) after easing in July (0.0%). Likewise, core inflation maintained its growth trend, increasing to +6.3% yoy (5.9% in July). In contrast, UK inflation surprised downwards, slightly softening to +9.9% yoy, down from the +10.2% initially expected. Nevertheless, the monthly uptrend was maintained (+0.5%) as well as that of core inflation (+6.3% vs +6.2% in July).

The ECB tightens further its monetary policy. At its last meeting on September 8th, the ECB raised rates by 75 basis points, the largest increase in its history. This rise responds to soaring prices in the Eurozone, as well as the depreciation of the euro. Thus, as from September 14th, the reference rate stands at 1.25% and the deposit facility at 0.75%. The institution has also revised its forecasts, outlining a less encouraging scenario, with a lowering of the eurozone GDP growth to +0.9% yoy (+2.1% previously) and an increase in inflation to +5.5% (+3.5%).

Eurozone PMIs continue to decline. The Eurozone composite PMI fell below the contraction zone for the second consecutive month (48.9). In August, the decline was again driven by the manufacturing sector, accompanied for the first time by the services sector. This worsening of expectations is mainly due to the increase in prices, leading to a decrease in demand in both sectors. Nevertheless, the outlook is uneven across countries, with Germany leading the decline (46.9 composite PMI), followed by Italy (49.8), while Spain and France remained in the expansion zone (50.5 and 50.4 respectively), albeit on a downward trend.

2. SPANISH OUTLOOK

Spanish 2021 GDP growth was higher than initially estimated. In this sense, the INE has revised Spanish growth upwards to +5.5% year-on-year, above the +5.1% advanced. This revision was mainly driven by a higher contribution of household consumption, while the contribution of investment, public sector consumption and exports was lower. Although, the statistics office has also revised 2020 GDP evolution, pointing to a more a pronounced decrease -11,3% (-10,8% previously), the GDP volume in 2021 was higher than advanced.

Tourism stands as one of the main axes of the recovery of the Spanish economy in 2022. The first summer without restrictions related to COVID-19, has led to an annual increase in international tourist arrivals of 106.2% in July, although still below 2019 levels (accounting for 92.0%). As for tourist spending, it is close to 2019 levels (99.2%) although influenced by the rise in prices. As for industry, it showed a slight moderation in July, with an increase in the industrial production index of +5.4% year-on-year (+7.0% in June; series adjusted for seasonal and calendar effects), although in line with the historical fluctuations during summer.

On the other hand, the good performance of the labor market slowed down in August, with an increase in unemployment of 40,428 people, although the total number of unemployed remained at the lowest level since 2008.

Moreover, inflation remained high in August (10.4% y-o-y), although slightly below that of July (+10.8%), this decrease was due to the statistical effect, presenting a monthly increase (+0.3% mom, -0.3% in July). Although energy and food continued to stand out again, the increase in prices was generalized. Thus, core inflation continues its concerning upward trend (+6.4% in August vs +6.1% in July).

3. FRENCH OUTLOOK

The INSEE confirms the rebound of French GDP in the second quarter of the year, with a quarter-on-quarter growth of +0.5%, after the decline in the first quarter of -0.2%. This recovery is driven by an upturn in household consumption, as well as an improvement in foreign demand. In addition, consumer confidence and business climate improved in August for the first time since the outbreak of the war, although consumers remain below the optimistic threshold.

As for the third quarter, industrial production slowed down in July with a monthly decrease of -1.6% after the +0.9% in June. On a year-on-year basis, production also decreased (-0.2%), although it was mostly due to the effect of the mining, energy and food industries, while the rest of the industries continued growing.

As for inflation, the annual rate moderated in August 2022 (+5.9% vs +6.1% in July), due to the annual easing of energy prices, especially those of oil. Nevertheless, a monthly increase was maintained (+0.5% vs +0.3% in July), driven by higher food and manufacturing prices. On a year-on-year basis, food and energy remain the main drivers, although the price increase was generalized to all goods and services, accelerating core inflation to +4.7% yoy (+4,3% in July).

4. PORTUGUESE OUTLOOK

Portuguese GDP performed better in the second quarter than initially estimated. In this sense, it has been revised upwards, presenting a null growth, compared to the initially estimated decrease (-0.2% qoq). Likewise, the year-on-year change was revised upwards, remaining positive (+7.1% yoy vs. +6.9% Flash estimate). The revision is based on a lower negative contribution from domestic demand, with international demand contributing positively, favored by the good performance of tourism.

As for the third quarter, tourism continued to position itself as the main driver of Portuguese growth, while industry was affected by the energy sector. Whereas tourism maintained its growing tendency in July, with overnight stays exceeding 2019 levels throughout the Portuguese territory -except in the Algarve-, industry continued to be affected by energy grouping, with a decrease in industrial production of -0.1% yoy, which excluding it, would remain positive (+1.6%). Regarding the labor market, monthly data for July was also released, which improved slight, with a decrease in the unemployment rate to 5.9% (6.1% in June).

Furthermore, inflation moderated to +8.9% in August (+9.1% in July), due to a decline in the pace of increase in energy prices (+24.0% in August vs. +31.2% in July). However, due to pass-through effects, the increase in other goods and services was sustained, raising core inflation to 6.5% (6.2% in July).