Economic performance driven by domestic and foreign impulses
With first-quarter GDP growth coming in at 0.8% quarter on quarter and second-quarter growth at 0.7% QoQ, Austria’s economy has seen a strong first half of the year. While we expect the current strong momentum to abate as the peak of the current economic cycle has been reached, a robust growth performance of 2.8% for 2018 is pencilled in.
Although risks to the growth outlook stem from foreign uncertainty factors such as a further escalation of the US trade conflict with major trading partners, the impact should be negligible for the Austrian economy this year. For 2019 and 2020 we expect a cooling down to 2.2% and 1.8% respectively.
Cooling down from high levels
The EU presidency isn't really a big deal
As far as the country’s EU presidency is concerned, the focus is likely to shift from the migration issue to Brexit and the closing window of opportunity for a deal. However, in Austria, the chairing isn't really on people’s radars.
According to a recent survey, 60% say they are ill-informed about the presidency, while only 19% attest the government is doing a good job and see new impulses on the EU stage. With less than a year to go until European parliamentary elections, the government has to step up its game, especially since 77% think the government’s far-right junior coalition partner, the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), would like to drop the EU presidency as it is an unnecessary cost and doesn't bring any benefits. Overall, 60% are in favour of scrapping the EU presidency.
Nevertheless, the government still has more than half of its presidential term to go, packed with foreign and EU-related uncertainty factors. With the economy currently on auto-pilot, it also has the opportunity to make an impression not only on the international stage but also domestically.