Euro Zone Economy at ‘Tipping Point’: S&P

The economic recovery in the euro zone is likely to gain momentum on the back of consumer demand, according to ratings agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P), but a “shock” from Greece could lead to “increased risk aversion among investors, lenders, and consumers.”

S&P revised its growth forecasts for the euro zone upwards on Wednesday, on the back of increasing consumer demand. It now predicts the 19-country single currency zone will average 1.6 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year and 1.9 percent in 2016, up from the 1.5 percent and 1.7 percent respectively forecast in March.

“We continue to assume that the current recovery is likely to gain momentum in the coming two years,” said the agency in its In its quarterly economic update published on Wednesday.

But despite upward revisions to its forecasts for most euro zone countries, S&P warned that the region was “at a tipping point,” with Greece a potential catalyst for weaker growth.

“We recognize that the resolution of the Greek crisis remains highly uncertain,” said Jean-Michel Six, S&P chief economist for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, in the update.

S&P said that the worst-case scenario – a “shock” Greek exit from the euro zone – could “easily weaken the upturn we are currently contemplating.”

Currently, Greece is in limbo between its expired bailout program, which ended at midnight last night, and hopes of a last-minute reforms-for-aid deal with lenders this week.

Risks of a “Grexit” are rising, after the Greek prime minister called a referendum for July 5 in which the Greek people must vote on whether to accept the reforms demanded by lenders, or reject them and risk a forced exit from the euro zone.

S&P warned that a Grexit could cause “increased risk aversion,” which could weaken its forecast upturn in which business and consumer confidence is a “key factor.”


Craig Erlam
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the BBC and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, FOX Business and BNN. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.