Banks cut Europe’s growth outlook

LONDON: Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley cut Europe’s fourth quarter economic forecasts yesterday as a surge in Covid-19 cases prompted the introduction of partial nationwide lockdowns in some countries in November, halting a nascent recovery seen during the summer.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered England back into a national lockdown from Thursday as a second wave of infections threatened to overwhelm the health service. The move brought England into alignment with France and Germany which imposed nationwide restrictions early last week.

US investment bank Goldman said it expects the euro area’s real gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink 2.3 per cent in the fourth quarter, a sharp reversal from its earlier projection of 2.2pc growth. Similarly, it cut UK GDP growth forecasts to minus 2.4pc from a 3.6pc expansion it had earlier expected.

“Looking ahead, we assume that the new restrictions will last for three months before they are gradually rolled back starting in February,” the bank’s economists wrote in a note to clients.

Morgan Stanley called for a modest GDP contraction for the euro area during the fourth quarter, while cutting its UK GDP growth forecast to minus 3pc from minus 0.2pc.

“We now see a more complex W-shaped recovery, in place of our previous assumption of an asymmetric V,” said Morgan Stanley, sticking to its expectations for the euro area economy to recover to pre-Covid levels in the second quarter of 2022.

Citi economists, meanwhile, said they expected UK GDP to shrink by over 4pc between October and December. “More protracted national lockdowns cannot be ruled out,” Citi said in a note.




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