MGI Weekly round-up | 18 May 2018

Stories MGI has been tracking this week:

  • Italy's populist parties to form government
  • Greece to remain under supervision post-bailout
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina struggles with migrant arrivals

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 MGI platform (WB section) to look at the number of migrants in Mediterranean countries.
 

Italy's populist parties to form government 

Ten weeks after the last, inconclusive elections, Italy's leading populist parties are close to reaching an agreement to form a new government. Luigi Di Maio, head of Italy’s 5-Star Movement, said on 13 May that he and Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, have agreed on the details of their governmental programme. However, after a brief meeting with the Italian President Sergio Mattarella on the following day, Di Maio asked or “a few extra days” in order to finalise the coalition’s plan. According to official sources, Mattarella agreed to the request without scheduling their next meeting.
 
The League-M5S programme includes a 15% flat tax rate, a guaranteed income for the poor and a lower retirement age. An estimate in the newspaper Corriere della Sera suggests that the proposed economic programme would cost up to €100 billion, with the flat tax being the most expensive measure. A leaked draft of the plan revealed that the coalition also wants to take a combative stance towards the EU.
 
It remains unclear who will lead the administration of the League-M5S coalition. Even though neither Di Maio nor Salvini have announced who they are backing to be the next prime minister, Italian media reported that a two-man race has developed between law professor Giuseppe Conte and economic historian Giulio Sapelli.
 

Greece to remain under supervision post-bailout

According to a scenario currently being examined by Greece’s creditors, the country will be placed under “enhanced supervision”, linked to debt measures, after the end of its third bailout programme in August 2018. Mario Centeno, president of the Eurogroup, said in a letter addressed to the 19 finance ministers of the eurozone that the supervisory tool will include three to four visits a year by the representatives of the institutions to Athens, where a European Commission team will be permanently based.
 
EU sources told Kathimerini that there are on-going discussions about how debt relief measures can be linked with continuing Greek commitment to reforms. Ideas being considered include the return of 5 €billion in central banks’ earnings from Greek bonds, as well as longer-term measures such as linking debt repayment to GDP growth.
 

Bosnia and Herzegovina struggles to cope with migrant arrivals 

Since the beginning of the year, about 4,000 migrants from Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Algeria and Afghanistan entered Bosnia and Herzegovina – compared to 755 in 2017. In addition, up to 1,500 migrants are stuck in the country. Migrants stuck in neighboring Serbia since 2016 are also increasingly crossing the border to Bosnia, while many Iranians exploit the fact that they no longer need a visa to enter Serbia.
 
While the locals and NGOs have been helping migrants for months, they are now struggling to cope. The Sarajevo and Bihac authorities have sought help from the central government, saying they are worried about health risks. According to Reuters, government ministers pledged to transfer migrants to alternative homes but warned that the country could close its borders unless migrants can continue their journey to other EU Member States.
 

Featured content from the MGI data and analysis portal 

In this edition, we use the MGI platform (WB section) to look at the number of international migrants in Mediterranean countries. According to the World Bank definition, the international migrant stock corresponds to the number of people born in a country other than that in which they live. The most recent data available is for the year 2015.
 
As the first picture shows, the Mediterranean country with the highest stock of international migrants in 2015 was France (about 7.8 million). Spain and Italy followed – with around 5.8 million people.

The ranking of countries changes significantly when we look at the number of migrants as a share of population (second picture below). Now, Lebanon ranks first, with immigrants accounting for about one third of the its population, followed by neighbouring Israel where immigrants constitute a quarter of the country’s population.

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The week in data

Highlights from national statistics releases tracked by MGI this week include:

 

  • CPI for Palestine during April 2018 increased by 0.32% over the previous month and decreased by 1.31% compared with April 2017.
  • In April 2018, CPI in France rose by 0.2% MoM and by 1.6% YoY.
  • Croatia's CPI in April 2018 increased by 0.7% as compared to March 2018. In comparison to the same month last year, CPI increased by 1.3%. 

 

Looking ahead

Next week, we expect data on CPI of Lebanon, Malta and Morocco, as well as real GDP for Spain. MGI’s complete data release schedule can be viewed at our release calendar section.
 
Monday 21 May, 2018:

  • Greece current account for March
  • Turkey central government debt for April
  • Lebanon CPI for April
  • Slovenia employment (detail register data) for March 

Tuesday 22 May, 2018:

  • Spain balance of trade for March and 3-Month Letras auction
  • France 3-month, 6-month and 12-month BTF auction 
  • Malta CPI for April
  • Morocco CPI for April

Wednesday 23 May, 2018:

  • France unemployment rate for 2018Q1
  • France Composite, Manufacturing and Services PMI for May, flash estimates
  • Turkey consumer confidence for May 

Thursday 24 May, 2018:

  • France business confidence for May
  • Spain industrial orders for March

Friday 25 May, 2018:

  • Spain real GDP for 2018Q1 and PPI for April
  • Cyprus retail sales for March
  • Turkey business confidence and capital utilization for May
  • Montenegro IPI for March (final data) and April (preliminary data)