MGI Weekly round-up | 23 February 2018
Stories MGI has been tracking this week:
- Israel strikes major gas deal with Egypt
- Greece’s current account deficit increases in December 2017
- The EU to recommend the opening of accession talks with Albania, Commissioner says
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, we use the NATSATS section of the MGI platform to look at the evolution of real GDP growth in Albania.
Israel strikes major gas deal with Egypt
According to two 10-year agreements announced on Monday, the Egyptian company Dolphinus Holdings will buy approximately around 64 billion m3 of natural gas (worth €15 billion) from Israel over the next decade. Dolphinus Holdings is a natural gas trade company and plans to supply gas to large industrial and commercial consumers in Egypt. The news was welcomed by the Israeli Prime Minister, who said the agreements "will strengthen our economy (and) strengthen regional ties", while the Israeli Energy Minister described it as the most important agreement made with Egypt since the neighbours signed their peace treaty in 1979, Reuters reports.
The exported gas will come from the Israeli Leviathan and Tamar gas fields. Israeli Delek Drilling and American Noble Energy jointly control around 85% of Leviathan and about 55% of Tamar.
The Tamar and Leviathan gas fields were discovered in 2009 and 2010 respectively, and Israel has since made efforts to become an exporter of natural gas.
Greece’s current account deficit increases in December 2017
According to the latest press release on the balance of payments of the Bank of Greece, the current account deficit in Greece increased by around 23% ΥοΥ (to €1.2 billion) in December 2017. This is due to the deterioration of all the main components of the current account, with only the goods balance showing improvement (oil and non-oil exports increased more than their respective imports).
For 2017 as a whole, however, the current account deficit did fall by about 23.2% YoY to €1.5 billion. This was mainly due to the improvement in the services balance and, to a lesser extent, the improvement of primary and secondary income accounts. In particular, the services balance surplus increased by 14% YoY (to €17.4 billion), the primary income balance was positive and amounted to €91 million (vs -€3.3 million in 2016) while, the secondary income balance deficit shrank to -€580 million (vs -€598.2 million in 2016). Improvements in these three components of the current account more than offset the widening of the trade deficit, which increased by 10.7% YoY to -€18.35 billion in 2017.
EU to recommend the opening of accession talks with Albania, Commissioner says
In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, EU Enlargement Commissioner Khan said “the EU Commission will soon recommend, most likely by the summer, that member states begin accession negotiations with Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia… We believe that both countries have made important reforms in the past and are thus qualified for this step”.
The two countries will join Montenegro and Serbia, which have held accession talks since 2012 and 2014 respectively and could join the EU as early as 2025. Bosnia and Herzegovina has applied but has not yet been recognized as a candidate country.
Interestingly, with regards to Turkey, the Commissioner said the two sides “should focus on the development of a strategic partnership and not on accession negotiations in the coming years”, Bloomberg reports.
Featured content from the MGI data and analysis portal
In this newsletter, we use the MGI platform (NATSTATS section) to look at the evolution of real GDP YoY % change in Albania. The period under review is 2010Q1-2017Q3.
As shown in the graph, the annual growth rate was positive in almost all quarters of the period under review – except for the fourth quarter of 2011, the first quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of 2013. The average over the whole period was about 2.5%. The index reached a peak of 5.8% in the first quarter of 2011 and a minimum of -2.9% in the third quarter of 2013. In the first three quarters of 2017 growth was strong, with an average of about 3.9%.
The week in data
Highlights from national statistics releases tracked by MGI this week include:
- Consumer prices in Montenegro increased 1% MoM and 2.6% YoY in January 2018 (preliminary data)
- Lebanon's CPI increased 5.55% (YoY) in January 2018
- Consumer prices in France increased 1.3% YoY and decreased 0.1% MoM in January 2018 (final results)
- Italy's CPI increased 0.9% YoY and 0.3% MoM in January 2018 (final results)
Next week, we expect real GDP, business and consumer confidence, PMI in manufacturing and inflation rate figures for several Mediterranean countries. MGI’s complete data release schedule can be viewed at our release calendar section.
Monday 26 February, 2018:
- Italy 6-month BOT auction
- France 3-month, 6-month and 12-month BTF auction
- Israel central bank interest rate decision
Tuesday 27 February, 2018:
- Turkey economic confidence index for February
- France consumer confidence for February
- France registered unemployed for January
- Spain domestic and harmonized inflation for February, preliminary estimates
- Spain business confidence for February
- Italy consumer and business confidence for February
- Italy 5-year and 10-year BTP auction
- Cyprus IPI for December
- Malta inflation rate for January
Wednesday 28 February, 2018:
- Turkey balance of trade and tourist arrivals for January
- France domestic and harmonized inflation for January, preliminary estimates
- France household consumption expenditure and PPI for January
- France real GDP for 2017Q4 (second estimate)
- Spain current account for December
- Italy domestic and harmonized inflation for February, preliminary estimates
- Israel unemployment rate and employment for January
- Egypt money supply (M2) for January
- Croatia real GDP for 2017Q4 (first estimate)
- Montenegro unemployment rate and employment (register data) for January
- Montenegro IPI for December, final data
- Montenegro IPI for January, preliminary data
- Slovenia inflation rate for February
- Slovenia unemployment rate and employment for 2017Q4
- Slovenia real GDP for 2017Q4
Thursday 1 March, 2018:
- Turkey Manufacturing PMI (Istanbul Chamber of Industry) for February
- Spain tourist arrivals for January and Manufacturing PMI for February
- Spain new car sales for February
- Spain 3-year, 5-year Bonos auction and 10-year Obligacion auction
- Italy Manufacturing PMI for February
- Italy unemployment rate and employment for January
- France Manufacturing PMI for February, final estimate
- France 10-year OAT auction
- Cyprus inflation rate for February
Friday 2 March, 2018:
- Spain registered unemployed for February
- Italy real GDP for 2017Q4
- Croatia real GDP for 2017Q4 (full dataset)
- Spain real GDP for 2017Q4
- Egypt foreign exchange reserves for February