Europe Is in Need of an Economic Awakening

Stuttering growth is expected to be reported across eurozone economies today, as Eurostat unveils third-quarter figures for the 20-nation bloc, alongside new inflation data. Figures published yesterday revealed that German output shrank in the period — raising the risk that Europe’s largest economy is headed for a recession, even though inflation slowed markedly and may fall further in coming months. Elsewhere, Sweden’s economy stagnated and Spain’s inflation accelerated to the highest level since April. Adding to the gloom, euro-area economic confidence slowed for a sixth month as the region struggles under the weight of higher interest rates, inflationary conditions and geopolitical tensions. Ahead of today’s Eurostat publication, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire urged the bloc to take action to boost growth, calling for an “economic awakening.” ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos warned that “recent indicators point to continued weakness in the near term.”

What’s Happening

Accession Warning | Serbia and Kosovo must normalize relations in order to join the EU, Ursula von der Leyen said in some of the strongest comments yet from a top EU official. On a Balkan tour through tomorrow, the Commission president said she’ll also discuss Serbia’s de-facto recognition of Kosovo with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, whom she is due to meet today.

Facebook Cost | Facebook owner Meta will offer users in Europe ad-free access to Facebook and Instagram for a subscription fee after courts in the region began cracking down on the way social media companies treat data. A July EU court decision said companies should consider offering an alternative paid service for customers who don’t want their data collected.

Rail Deal | Hitachi Rail’s €1.7 billion purchase of Thales’s ground transportation systems business was approved by the EU’s antitrust regulators yesterday. The green light came after the Japanese firm offered to divest its mainline signaling platforms in France and Germany. The deal was previously approved in the UK.

Euro Flood | The Czech Republic has not adopted the euro, but a high percentage of the country’s businesses have. Fresh data showed that for the first time half of all Czech outstanding corporate loans from local banks are denominated in foreign currencies — mostly the euro — and the number is even higher if credit from foreign banks is included.

Around Europe

Ukraine Call | Ukraine’s effort to recruit allies from the so-called Global South to push forward a blueprint for peace was overshadowed by widening concern over the Israel-Hamas war during a meeting in Malta yesterday. The incident underscored the challenge for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy faces in maintaining the world’s focus on Russia’s invasion.

Macron’s Tour | French President Emmanuel Macron is planning a trip to energy-rich Central Asia to visit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, two of the country’s top three suppliers of the uranium that powers its nuclear reactors. The trip aims to boost France’s energy security, we’ve been told. It comes as French power prices for November rose after EDF reported two unplanned halts at nuclear plants.

Rubiales Ban | FIFA has banned Luis Rubiales for three years after he sparked outrage by celebrating Spain’s World Cup victory by kissing star player Jennifer Hermoso on the lips. The former president of the Spanish Football Association is banned from all football-related activities at national and international levels for three years.

Supermarket Sweep | Dutch retail giant Ahold Delhaize will buy Romanian grocery retailer Profi in a move that will more than double its business and turn it into the market leader in the Balkan nation. The acquisition marks the the largest grocery deal on record in central and eastern Europe.

Source from: Bloomberg