Flash estimates of Q3 GDP growth (0.3 percent) undershot expectations, and spurs fears of a slowdown in economic recovery, as is also evident from The Conference Board Leading Economic Indexes. However, PMI survey readings for October and particularly November were strong, showing activity well in expansionary territory. Further easing of monetary policy in the Euro Area signals current sentiment about overall weakness, despite an upward trend in core inflation and total production prices.
Even though GDP growth has improved, investment rates remain well below pre-crisis peaks, an issue that the European Commission is trying to tackle with a €315 billion stimulus investment plan. In addition to investment, Europe needs to raise returns on investment by addressing the regulatory environment, such as the completion of a single market for goods and services and the realization of the banking union.