Spring 2023 Economic Forecast: an improved outlook amid persistent challenges (2023)

Over the past winter, the EU economy performed better than expected. As the disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis clouded the outlook for the EU economy, and monetary authorities around the world embarked on a forceful tightening of monetary conditions, a winter recession in the EU appeared inevitable last year. The Autumn 2022 Forecast had projected the EU economy to contract in the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. Instead, latest data point to a smaller-than-projected contraction in the final quarter of last year and positive growth in the first quarter of this year. The better starting position lifts the growth outlook for the EU economy for 2023 and marginally for 2024. Compared to the Winter 2023 interim Forecast,

EU GDP growth is revised up to 1.0% in 2023 (from 0.8%) and 1.7% in 2024 (from 1.6%), virtually closing the gap with potential output by the end of the forecast horizon (see Special Issue I.4.1). Upward revisions for the euro area are of a similar magnitude, with GDP growth now expected at 1.1% and 1.6% in 2023 and 2024 respectively. Inflation also surprised again to the upside, and it is now expected at 5.8% in 2023 and 2.8% in 2024 in the euro area, respectively 0.2% and 0.3% higher than in winter.

Model-based analysis suggests that the improved outlook is driven by the terms-of-trade countershock caused by declining energy prices, while broad price-increasing supply-side factors lead to inflation persistence (see Box I.2.4). Recent economic developments seem to corroborate these results. According to Eurostat’s preliminary flash estimate, in 2023-Q1 GDP grew by 0.3% in the EU and by 0.1% in the euro area, a notch above the Winter interim Forecast projections. Lower energy prices, abating supply constraints, improved business confidence and a strong labour market underpinned this positive outcome. As for inflation, the headline index continued to decline in the first quarter of 2023, amid sharp deceleration of energy prices, but core inflation firmed, pointing to persistence of price pressures. For the second quarter, survey indicators suggest continued expansion, with services clearly outperforming the manufacturing sector and consumer confidence continuing its recovery from last autumn’s historical low.

The EU weathered the energy crisis well thanks to the rapid diversification of supply and a sizeable fall in consumption (see Box I.2.1). As the EU approaches the gas-refilling season, gas storage levels are at comfortable levels and risks of shortages during next winter have considerably abated. Further supply diversification and the accelerated increase in renewable power generation are expected to allow the EU to continue replacing fossil-based sources, including gas, while reducing the likelihood of renewed price pressures.

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At the cut-off date of this forecast, wholesale gas prices were projected to be 25% and 13% lower in 2023 and 2024 respectively, compared to markets’ expectations at the time of the previous Commission forecast. Oil prices were also expected to be 10% lower, compared to early February, in both 2023 and 2024.

The sharp deterioration of terms of trade in 2021 and 2022, as energy (imported) prices surged, resulted in a transfer of purchasing power from the EU to the rest of the world. With energy prices rapidly falling, the expected improvement in terms of trade over the forecast horizon will drive a reversal of this effect, to the benefit of all domestic sectors of the economy – households, corporates and governments. So far, households and public finances have taken a large part of the brunt of high imported inflation, as employment growth only partially offsets the fall in real wages and public finances set out to protect households and corporations from the adverse impact of high energy prices. Companies have been generally successful in passing on higher production costs to consumers (see Box I.2.3). However, the most energy-intensive sectors and companies have been struggling. Going forward, households are set to see their real disposable incomes finally increase in 2024, while falling energy prices allow governments to contain the cost of support measures or phase them out altogether.

The progressive firming of core inflation has set EU monetary authorities on a path of more forceful monetary tightening. In its meeting of 5 May – i.e. shortly after the cut-off of this forecast – the ECB Governing Board lifted policy rates by 25 basis points, down from 50 basis points in the previous two rounds of policy hikes. This was largely anticipated by market agents. At the cut-off date of this forecast, the euro area short-term rate was expected to peak at 3.8% in 2023-Q3, before abating in the course of 2024. Long-term interest rates have hardly moved. Tighter monetary conditions are feeding through the credit channel: borrowing costs are increasing, while credit flows are decreasing. The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and two other US banks and the problems with Credit Suisse compound with the effects of higher policy rates. While well-capitalised and thoroughly supervised, EU banks’ declining risk tolerance is expected to lead to a further tightening of lending standards. As usual, projections about interest rates underpinning this forecast reflect market expectations at the time of the forecast. Moreover, this forecast assumes an orderly adjustment of the financial sector to higher policy rates, while risks stemming from exposures to households and corporates are assumed to be manageable (see Box I.1.1). While bankruptcies increased significantly towards the end of last year, the surge largely reflects a clearing of the insolvency backlog created by support schemes during the pandemic and country-specific developments related to changes in insolvency regulations (see Box I.2.2).

The tightening of financing conditions is expected to weigh on investment over the forecast horizon.

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Housing investment, which is particularly sensitive to interest rates, is set to contract. By contrast, business investment is projected to still increase, though at a slower pace than last year, helped by corporates’ overall healthy balance sheet position. Finally, public investment is forecast to remain buoyant in both 2023 and 2024 thanks to the continued deployment of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). Overall, investment growth is projected to decelerate markedly from 4% in 2022 to 0.9% in 2023. Gradual normalisation of economic activity is expected to reinvigorate companies’ investment decisions, pushing overall investment growth up by 2.1% in 2024.

Inflation keeps eroding the purchasing power of consumers. Following the fall in the last quarter of 2022, private consumption is expected to have weakened again in the first quarter of this year. Overall, private consumption growth in the EU in 2023 is projected at 0.5%. As inflation loosens its grip on households’ budgets, private consumption is set to rebound to 1.8% in 2024. The household saving rate is projected to decrease in the EU from 13.2% in 2022 to 12.8% in 2024, in line with its long-term average.

The slower pace of economic expansion in the EU is set to have a limited impact on the EU labour market. Continued labour market tightness, labour hoarding due to skill shortages as well as strong demand, especially for services, are expected to cushion the impact of the economic slowdown on the labour market.

Employment growth is still forecast at 0.5% in the EU this year. In 2024, employment is set to keep growing moderately (0.4%), implying a less job-rich growth than in 2022. The unemployment rate is expected to remain close to its historical low, at 6.2%, in the EU in 2023, before edging down to 6.1% in 2024.

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After growing by 5.0% in 2022, the annual growth rate of compensation per employee is projected to increase to 5.9% in 2023 before falling to 4.6% in 2024. This means that real wages are still set to decrease this year, though a slight pick-up in real wages is expected towards the end of the year.

Sharply lower natural gas prices are making their way to retail prices of gas and electricity, though at varying speeds across EU Member States. At the same time, all other major inflation subcomponents (processed and unprocessed food, non-energy industrial goods and services) have seen their annual inflation rate increase between December and March. Consequently, core inflation (headline excluding energy and unprocessed food) continued to rise in early 2023, to a historical high of 7.6% in March, and core goods and services replaced energy as the primary driver of headline inflation in the EU. Recent indications on managers’ selling price expectations from business surveys and other indicators corroborate the projection of core inflation having peaked in the first quarter. Core inflation is projected to decline gradually as profit margins absorb higher wage pressures and tighter financing conditions prove effective. Average core inflation in 2023, at 6.9% in the EU, is set to exceed that in 2022, before falling to 3.6% in 2024, above headline inflation in both forecast years.

The economic expansion and reduced pandemic-related emergency measures supported the further reduction of the EU government deficit in 2022, to 3.4% of GDP, despite the expansionary fiscal stance driven by sizeable energy support measures.

In 2023 and especially in 2024, the phasing out of energy support measures is expected to drive further deficit reductions on aggregate in the EU, to 3.1% and 2.4% of GDP,

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respectively, and the corresponding fiscal impulse should turn contractionary. However, several Member States are still projected to see a deterioration in their general government balance in 2023, as their fiscal stance remains expansionary. While falling energy prices are helping to contain the cost of existing support measures, several Member States have introduced new energy support measures or are extending existing ones. Furthermore, while inflation supported the improvement in the government balance ratio in 2022, some reversal of this effect is expected in 2023 as large expenditure items like pensions and other social transfers, as well as public wages, are adjusted to the previous’ year inflation. In 2024, on account of unchanged policies, the deficit reduction is set to be broad-based across countries. Meanwhile, the EU aggregate debt ratio is expected to fall in 2023-24 despite debt-increasing primary deficits, thanks to economic growth and inflation. Higher interest rates are affecting the cost of servicing public debts only gradually thanks to their long maturity.

The EU debt-to-GDP ratio fell to around 85% of GDP in 2022, from the record high of 92% recorded in 2020. It is projected to further decline to below 83% of GDP in 2024, but to remain above the pre-COVID-19 crisis level of around 79% in 2019.

Global growth, excluding the EU, is expected to fall from 3.2% in 2022 to 3.1% in 2023, before rising back to 3.2% in 2024, broadly unchanged since the Winter interim Forecast. The outlook for external demand facing the EU has however been significantly downgraded, as synchronised weakness in advanced economies (and especially in the US) weighs heavily on EU exports. The rebound in economic activity in China, moreover, is set to benefit primarily the domestic sectors, services in particular, with limited positive spillovers to the EU. Still, net external demand is expected to contribute positively to GDP due to weak import dynamics – especially for goods in 2023. The current account balance is set to improve steadily from the record-low surplus of 1.6% of GDP in 2022 to 3.5% in 2024. The improvement is mainly driven by the merchandise trade balance, which is forecast to turn positive this year and improve further next year, largely as a consequence of falling import prices. The services trade balance is forecast to remain strong throughout the forecast horizon, with tourism being a strong driver of the economic rebound. This publication includes for the first time an overview of the economic structural features, recent performance and outlook for Ukraine, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were granted candidate status for EU membership by the Council in June 2022 and December 2022 (see Special Issue I.4.2).

While the outlook in our central scenario has not changed much since last winter, downside risks to the economic outlook have increased. Persistence of core inflation has emerged as a key risk. It could continue restraining the purchasing power of households and force a stronger response of monetary policy, with broad macro-financial ramifications. Moreover, a surge in risk aversion in financial markets, following the banking sector turmoil originated in the US, could prompt a more pronounced tightening of lending standards than assumed in this forecast. In this context, policy consistency has become even more important. An expansionary fiscal policy stance would fuel inflation further, leaning against monetary policy action. In energy markets, the threat of outright supply shortages for next winter has significantly abated, but the evolution of prices remains highly uncertain. More benign developments in energy prices would lead to a faster decline in headline inflation, with positive spillovers on domestic demand. Risks related to EU’s external environment remain unusually elevated, with new uncertainties following the banking sector turbulence or related to wider geopolitical tensions. Finally, there is persistent uncertainty stemming from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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What is the economic growth forecast for 2023? ›

Description: The baseline forecast is for growth to fall from 3.4 percent in 2022 to 2.8 percent in 2023, before settling at 3.0 percent in 2024. Advanced economies are expected to see an especially pronounced growth slowdown, from 2.7 percent in 2022 to 1.3 percent in 2023.

What is the US economic outlook for 2023 and beyond? ›

As we have previously noted, we anticipate tightening credit conditions will represent a drag on the US economy worth around 0.5% of GDP over the next 18 months. As a result, we now anticipate real GDP growth will be closer to 0.8% in 2023 and around 1.5% in 2024.

How is the economy doing right now 2023? ›

In 2023, economic activity is projected to stagnate, with rising unemployment and falling inflation. Interest rates are projected to remain high initially and then gradually decrease in the next few years as inflation continues to slow.

What is the IMF Economic Outlook January 2023? ›

Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas on World Economic Outlook Update, January 2023. The IMF projects global growth to fall from 3.4% in 2022 to 2.9% in 2023, and then rise to 3.1% in 2024. Inflation is peaking amid low growth. This is a modal window.

Is a recession coming in 2023? ›

We expect a recession in 2023, and while incoming data for the first quarter have shown a resilient economy thus far, there have been signs of slowing activity.

Is there a chance of recession in 2023? ›

According to the Recession Probabilities Worldwide 2023 data, India has a 0% probability of recession this year, while UK and US have 75% and 65% chances of recession respectively. Many Indians prefer moving abroad for better academic opportunities, career prospects, and availability of financial aid and scholarships.

What are the top economic concerns for 2023? ›

5 economic challenges that await us in 2023
  • An imminent recession. ...
  • Stubborn inflation. ...
  • China's COVID chaos. ...
  • An energy crisis. ...
  • Geopolitical tensions, technology war.
Jan 2, 2023

How long will 2023 recession last US? ›

In a best-case scenario, the U.S. will likely see a 'soft landing' with low/slow growth across 2023 before picking up in 2024. However, a downside scenario is a real possibility and could see the U.S. enter a prolonged recession lasting well into 2024, as is currently forecast for the UK and Germany.

What are the top economic trends for 2023? ›

Inflation rates will decline markedly in 2023 but remain higher than the market anticipates. The Fed will slow its tightening cycle and eventually stop hiking rates during 2023, but its policy rate will remain higher for longer than expected. The US economy will decelerate into a recession.

How is the economy doing April 2023? ›

US GDP April 2023: Economic Growth Slows to 1.1% as Business Investment Slumps - Bloomberg.

What is causing inflation 2023? ›

It has been attributed to various causes, including pandemic-related economic dislocation, supply chain problems, the fiscal and monetary stimuli provided in 2020 and 2021 by governments and central banks around the world in response to the pandemic, and price gouging.

How is the economy doing March 2023? ›

Inflation cooled to 5% in March 2023 compared to one year ago, but high prices are here to stay.

What is the economic outlook for 2024? ›

UNITED NATIONS, May 16 (Reuters) - Global economic growth is projected to be 2.3% in 2023, up 0.4 percentage points from a January forecast, and the prediction for 2024 has dropped 0.2 percentage points to 2.5%, according to a United Nations report released on Tuesday.

What is causing inflation? ›

Inflation can occur when prices rise due to increases in production costs, such as raw materials and wages. A surge in demand for products and services can cause inflation as consumers are willing to pay more for the product.

What happens during a recession? ›

Job losses: During a recession, businesses struggle to make profits, leading to layoffs and job losses. Unemployment rates tend to rise significantly during a recession. Reduced consumer spending: Consumers tend to reduce spending during a recession as they become more cautious with their money.

Is it good to buy a house during a recession? ›

During a traditional recession, the Fed will usually lower interest rates. This creates an incentive for people to spend money and stimulate the economy. It also typically leads to more affordable mortgage rates, which leads to more opportunity for homebuyers.

Will the US have a recession in 2023 or 2024? ›

By April 2024, it is projected that there is probability of 68.22 percent that the United States will fall into another economic recession. This is an increase from the projection of the preceding month where the probability peaked at 57.77 percent.

How long will a recession last? ›

Recessions can last from a few weeks to several years, depending on the cause and government response. Data from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that between 1854 and 2022, the average recession lasted 17 months.

What should I do about the recession 2023? ›

Recession 2023: How to prepare
  • Create an emergency fund. An emergency fund is an essential tool for managing financial risk and uncertainties. ...
  • Cut down on expenses. ...
  • Plan your future finances. ...
  • Learn new skills. ...
  • Look for additional sources of income. ...
  • Avoid panicking. ...
  • Hire a financial advisor.
Feb 3, 2023

How to prepare for a recession in 2023? ›

Consider these 5 financial moves to prepare yourself for a possible recession in 2023
  1. Keep debts under control. ...
  2. Review your tolerance for losses. ...
  3. Build up your liquidity. ...
  4. Re-evaluate your job prospects. ...
  5. Delay retirement if you can.
Jan 8, 2023

Why recession is inevitable in 2023? ›

Layoffs in tech and finance will spread to other sectors. After tech and finance, more sectors will have to adapt to a new reality of high interest rates and weak demand. More than a year ago, I forecast a recession would begin in the second half of 2023.

Will the economy get better or worse in 2023? ›

The baseline forecast is for growth to fall from 3.4 percent in 2022 to 2.8 percent in 2023, before settling at 3.0 percent in 2024. Advanced economies are expected to see an especially pronounced growth slowdown, from 2.7 percent in 2022 to 1.3 percent in 2023.

What is the biggest problem in the US today 2023? ›

Government, inflation and immigration. These are the top issues many Americans believe are the United States' biggest problems for 2023. Gallup conducted a poll between Jan.

Will inflation ease in 2023? ›

While it's widely expected that the inflation rate will continue to decline throughout 2023, it's not yet clear when it might drop to the Federal Reserve's target rate of 2%, if at all.

Which is the fastest growing major economy in 2023? ›

India to emerge as the fastest-growing economy in 2023, ahead of China and the US.

Who has the strongest economy in the world 2023? ›

United States of America

What is the inflation expectation for April 2023? ›

The annual inflation rate in the US unexpectedly edged lower to 4.9% in April 2023, the lowest since April 2021, from 5% in March and below forecasts of 5%. Food prices grew at a slower rate (7.7% vs 8.5% in March) and energy cost fell (-5.1% vs -6.4%), namely gasoline (-12.2%) and fuel oil (-20.2%).

What is the expected inflation rate for the next 10 years? ›

The dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.08% per year between 2022 and 2030, producing a cumulative price increase of 27.49%. The buying power of $1,000,000 in 2022 is predicted to be equivalent to $1,274,870.28 in 2030. This calculation is based on future inflation assumption of 3.00% per year.

What is the consumer confidence index for April 2023? ›

Consumer Confidence in the United States is expected to be 62.00 points by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations.

How to survive inflation 2023? ›

  1. High inflation means you might have to make changes to your spending, saving and investing habits. ...
  2. Lock in today's high interest rates for your cash savings. ...
  3. A diversified investment portfolio is important during times of high inflation. ...
  4. Make sure to keep your emergency fund stocked when inflation is high.

Will inflation stabilize in 2023? ›

The "slowing economy is likely to bring the yearly inflation rate down to around 4.0 percent by the end of 2023," Kiplinger predicted.

What is the monthly inflation forecast for 2023? ›

In all scenarios, there is a rapid fall in inflation from February 2023, which is due to the drop out of the high inflation figures in the corresponding months this year. However, inflation will remain well above 2% for the whole of 2023.

What is the World Bank forecast for 2023? ›

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) - World Bank Group President David Malpass said on Monday that the lender has revised its 2023 global growth outlook slightly upward to 2% from a January forecast of 1.7% but the slowdown from stronger 2022 growth will increase debt distress for developing countries.

What is the expected inflation rate for 2023 and 2024? ›

Specifically, the assumptions anticipate that, after peaking at a projected 7.6 percent rate on a fourth quar- ter-over-fourth quarter basis in 2022, the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is forecasted to increase 3.0 percent in 2023 and 2.3 percent in 2024.

How long does it take for the economy to recover from a recession? ›

A typical recession persists for about a year, while an expansion often lasts more than 5 years. Recoveries from recessions are strong, reflecting the presence of a bounce-back effect.

Will there be inflation in 2024? ›

This effect explains how inflation erodes the value of a dollar over time. By calculating the value in 2020 dollars, the chart below shows how $1 is worth less over 4 years.
Buying power of $1 in 2024.
YearDollar ValueInflation Rate
1 more row

Who benefit from inflation? ›

Collectors. Historically, collectibles like fine art, wine, or baseball cards can benefit from inflationary periods as the dollar loses purchasing power. During high inflation, investors often turn to hard assets that are more likely to retain their value through market volatility.

Why is US inflation so high? ›

Money supply: When people experience an increase in income or spending opportunities, they are more likely to spend before they save. This often causes more demand than there is supply. This cause is linked to demand-pull inflation.

How can we stop inflation? ›

Monetary policy primarily involves changing interest rates to control inflation. Governments through fiscal policy, however, can assist in fighting inflation. Governments can reduce spending and increase taxes as a way to help reduce inflation.

Do grocery prices go down in a recession? ›

Because a decline in disposable income affects prices, the prices of essentials, such as food and utilities, often stay the same.

What should you not do in a recession? ›

For example, you'll want to avoid becoming a co-signer on a loan, taking out an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), or taking on new debt. Workers considering quitting their jobs should prepare for a longer search if they decide to find a new one later.

Do car prices go down in a recession? ›

Historically, it may be reasonable to expect car prices to drop in a recession. However, there may be other factors that could significantly affect your ability to get a deal on the car you want.

What is the US economic growth forecast for 2025? ›

The GNI (gross national income) in the United States is forecast to amount to US$26.88tn in 2025. In 2025, the total investment in the United States is forecast to amount to US$5.69tn.

Did Goldman cut US growth forecast for 2023 after rate path change? ›

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its US economic growth estimates for 2023 after recently boosting its predictions for Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. US gross domestic product will increase 1.1% in 2023, economists including Jan Hatzius wrote in a note Friday, compared with a forecast of 1.5% previously.

What is the US GDP 2023? ›

GDP in the United States is expected to reach 23618.00 USD Billion by the end of 2023, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations.

What will the US economy look like in 2024? ›

By early 2024, with inflation falling convincingly toward the Fed's 2.0 percent target and the labor market softening, we expect the Fed to start cutting rates at a measured pace. We expect the pace of real GDP growth to top 2.0 percent again by the second half of 2024.

What rate hikes are expected in 2023? ›

14 months of rate hikes from the Fed
Daterate changetarget rate
Nov. 1-2, 20220.75%3.75% - 4%
Dec. 13-14, 20220.50%4.25% - 4.5%
Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 20230.25%4.5% - 4.75%
March 21-22, 20230.25%4.75% - 5%
6 more rows
May 2, 2023

Could global rate hikes trigger 2023 recession? ›

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2022—As central banks across the world simultaneously hike interest rates in response to inflation, the world may be edging toward a global recession in 2023 and a string of financial crises in emerging market and developing economies that would do them lasting harm, according to a ...

What is Morgan Stanley economic forecast for 2023? ›

2023 Outlook: The Year Ahead for Markets. Investors can expect weaker growth, less inflation and an end to rate hikes, creating bright spots for bonds, defensive stocks and emerging markets. Morgan Stanley experts share insights on what may lie ahead.

What will GDP look like in 2023? ›

Annual GDP growth in the United States is projected to slow to 1.5% in 2023 and 0.9% in 2024. Growth in the euro area is projected to be 0.8% in 2023, but pick up to 1.5% in 2024. Growth in China is expected to rebound to 5.3% this year and 4.9% in 2024.

How long do recessions last? ›

Recessions over the last half a century have ranged from 18 months to just two months. Federal Reserve economists believe the next downturn may stick around for longer than usual.

What country has the biggest GDP? ›

According to the latest available data from the World Bank, the United States of America is currently the world's largest economy, with a GDP of over $23 trillion in 2021.

What is the predicted inflation rate for 2023 and 2024? ›

Projected annual inflation rate in the United States from 2010 to 2028*
CharacteristicInflation rate
9 more rows
Apr 20, 2023


1. Press Briefing: World Economic Outlook (WEO) | October 2022
2. Protecting Cyberspace amid Exponential Change | Davos 2023 | World Economic Forum
(World Economic Forum)
3. There Will Be No Recovery as the Global Economy Is Months From a Massive Recession as Demand Crashes
(Steven Van Metre)
4. Commodity Price Outlook 2023
(The Smart Cube)
5. Recession Outlook: Is it too late to avoid an economic decline?
(Yahoo Finance)
6. NIESR’s Spring 2021 Quarterly Economic Forecast
(National Institute of Economic and Social Research)
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