MGI Weekly round-up | May 19th 2017

Stories MGI has been tracking this week:

  • Bond markets in Europe’s periphery jump as Greece approves reforms
  • Malta calls early election, joining Albania for June decisions in the Med
  • Lebanon becomes first Arab country to celebrate gay pride

And as always, we feature content from the MGI data and analysis platform, a summary of the week’s key statistical releases, and a look to the week ahead in data. This week’s featured content highlights the economic conditions that will influence the outcome of Malta’s upcoming election.

Bond markets in Europe’s periphery jump as Greece approves reforms

MGI reported two weeks ago that reforms agreed to at the staff-level between Greece and the European Union still needed to be approved by parliament. Greek lawmakers were able to pass the suite of pension and tax reforms on Thursday, despite heavy protests earlier in the week.

Bond markets in Greece signaled their approval, and the region’s other troubled economies rode the wave of bond optimism. Greece hopes to leverage the agreement and resulting market conditions to once again tap private lenders in late summer.

Malta calls early election, joining Albania for June decisions in the Med

Facing calls to resign over his family’s alleged use of offshore tax havens, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has called a snap election one year earlier than his scheduled end of term. Murcat denies the claims and cites a desire to resolve uncertainty as justification for moving the date ahead to June 3rd.   

While Malta brings the vote forward, Albania pushes its scheduled general election back slightly to June 25th. The move came as a three-month boycott of parliament by opposition parties ended in an agreement on judicial, constitutional, and electoral reforms. MGI and other European Union watchers expect the reforms to breathe new life into Albania’s accession talks.

Lebanon becomes first Arab country to celebrate gay pride

Participants in Lebanon’s first gay pride week foresee growing tolerance and rising acceptance of diversity in the country. The week is centered around Wednesday’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biophobia and formalizes several scattered organisations and events for higher visibility.

Despite a growing rights movement, Lebanon still considers gay acts illegal under its laws, with offenders facing possible jail time. The event was not without setbacks, as an event scheduled to kickoff the week had to be cancelled after threats.

Featured content from the MGI.online data and analysis portal

Malta’s upcoming election will be set against the backdrop of record low unemployment and a sustained stretch of strong economic growth. Malta’s economic climate can be quickly assessed using the MGI.online Countries at a glance dashboards.

The week in data

This week saw Greece’s economy drop yet again, just as lawmakers passed further austerity measures. Elsewhere, France released the headline economic data trifecta of growth, inflation, and unemployment statistics.

  • Greece GDP in 2017Q1 fell 0.1% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 and 0.5% versus the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest flash estimate from Elstat http://bit.ly/2rhHHbL
  • France released the first estimate of its 2016 annual national accounts results. Real GDP growth is estimated to have grown at 1.2% over the year http://bit.ly/2rlyFex. France’s ILO unemployment rate fell to 9.6% in the first quarter of 2017, down from 10.0% in 2016 Q4 http://bit.ly/2qupuds. CPI inflation in France slowed in April to 1.2% compared to the same month of the previous year and 0.1% compared to the previously month.  A stall in the growth of prices of manufactured products was the primary contributor to the results http://bit.ly/2rbl9Nj
  • Italy's trade balance in March posted a surplus of €5.4 billion, of which €1.2 billion came from the EU area and €4.2 billion came from non-EU countries http://bit.ly/2rexb8I
  • The Bank of Israel released its May inflation expectations survey results. Prices are expected to rise 0.5% over the next year, which is up from 0.3% in March’s survey http://bit.ly/2pO3489.

Looking ahead

This week we’ll find out about April inflation from countries who are slower to report. It’s also the return of business confidence survey week for most Mediterranean economies. MGI’s complete data release schedule can be viewed at https://www.mgi.online/release-calendar/.

 

Monday 22nd May, 2017:

  • Greece current account for March
  • Turkey central government debt for April
  • Lebanon CPI for April
  • Morocco CPI for April
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Tuesday 23rd May, 2017:

  • Spain balance of trade for March

  • Israel unemployment rate for April
  • France business confidence for May
  • Turkey business confidence for May
  • Malta CPI for April

 

Wednesday 24th May, 2017:

  • Spain producer price index for April
  • France unemployment benefit claims for April
  • Palestinian territories employment for 2017 Q1

 

Thursday 25th May, 2017:

  • Spain GDP growth for 2017 Q1
  • Israel industrial production for March
  • Montenegro industrial production for March


Friday 26th May, 2017:

  • Italy business confidence for May
  • Turkey economic confidence for May