No global meltdown, EU growth outlook unchanged: EU economic chief

Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:16am EST
 
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By Paul Taylor

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Central banks still have more firepower they can use to counter a slowdown in global growth, which does not change the outlook for recovery in the euro zone, European Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Wednesday.

In an interview with Reuters Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Moscovici said he did not believe there would be any return to an international financial crisis, despite turmoil in world markets during the first few weeks of 2016 triggered by China's slowdown and low oil prices.

Asked whether the world's main central banks had run out of ammunition to revive the global economy after years of record low interest rates and quantitative easing, he said: "They have got guns and they can act."

While declining to recommend policy to the independent European Central Bank, the French Socialist said the ECB had taken the right action since 2012 to preserve the unity of the euro zone and show it could resist any shock.

ECB action had also addressed policy issues linked to weak growth "and we need to go on with that", he said.

Moscovici said he did not expect any major change in the euro zone's growth outlook when the European Commission issues an updated forecast in early February, despite the sharp slowdown in China and tumbling stock and commodity markets.

The EU executive last forecast in November that the euro zone would grow by 1.8 percent this year and 1.9 percent in 2017 after an estimated 1.6 percent last year.

"As I see it today I see no change, no major change in our forecast... for Europe.  But of course we’ve got to take into account those downside risks. We don’t need to change our policy stance but to reinforce it," he said.   Continued...

 
European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici presents the EU executive's autumn economic forecasts during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium November 5, 2015.  REUTERS/Yves Herman