The European Commission slashed their GDP growth forecast for the European Union (excluding the United Kingdom) and the Eurozone for 2019 and 2020 citing slowing growth in China and weakening global trade.
The growth forecast for 2019 for the European Union (excluding the United Kingdom) was cut to 1.5% for 2019 (was previously forecast 2%) and for the Eurozone was cut to 1.3% (was previously forecast 1.9%).
Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all saw big downgrades for their growth outlook.
22 out of the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU) currently have national minimum wages. The 6 countries in the EU that do not currently have any minimum wage level set are Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden.
Japan has the highest percentage of over 65s at 26.56%. The other countries that make the top 25 countries for over 65s population are Italy, Germany, Portugal, Finland, Bulgaria, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, France, Croatia, Spain, Estonia, Austria, Malta, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Hungary all of which are in Europe.
The overall tax-to-GDP ratio, which is the sum of taxes and net social contributions as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, stood at 40.2% in the European Union (EU) in 2017 and 41.4% of GDP for the Eurozone in 2017. These were the highest ever levels for both the European Union and Eurozone.
The European Central Bank (ECB) only started its Quantitative Easing (or QE) program in March 2015 in order to fight ultralow inflation in the Eurozone (also called the Euro Area). It somewhat worked by weakening the Euro (€), increasing exports, giving the stock market a boost and drastically lowering financing costs for European governments and corporations. This caused the ECB balance sheet to soar over €4.5 trillion or 45% of Eurozone GDP.
In January to September 2018, Euro area or Eurozone exports of goods to the rest of the world rose to €1,686.0 bn (an increase of 3.6% compared with January to September 2017), while imports rose to €1,542.9 bn (an increase of 5.8% compared with January to September 2017). As a result, the euro area recorded a surplus of €143.1 bn, compared with +€169.2 bn in January-September 2017. Intra-euro area trade rose to €1,449.8 bn in January-September 2018, up by 5.7% compared with January-September 2017.
The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported that the German GDP shrank by 0.2% in the third quarter (vs the second quarter) of 2018. Growth was +1.1% on the same quarter a year earlier following increases of 2.3% in the second quarter (calendar adjusted: +2.0%) and 1.4% in the first quarter of 2018 (calendar adjusted: +2.1%).