Tuesday Jun 28, 2022
Tuesday Jun 28, 2022

EU cuts forecast for economic growth as war’s fallout widens


Nepalnews
AP
2022 May 16, 17:03, BRUSSELS
FILE - A car stops in a gas station where prices are up to 2,75 euros per liter (US dlrs. 3.04) in Marseille, southern France, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The European Union slashed its forecasts of economic growth in the 27-nation bloc amid the prospect of a drawn-out Russian war in Ukraine and disruptions to EU energy trade. EU imports of energy from Russia last year totaled 99 billion euros ($103 billion), or 62% of the bloc's purchases of Russian goods. Russia is the top supplier to the EU of oil, natural gas and coal, accounting for around a quarter of the bloc's total energy. Photo- AP

The European Union has slashed its forecasts for economic growth in the 27-nation bloc amid the prospect of a drawn-out Russian war in Ukraine and disruptions to energy supplies.

The EU’s gross domestic product will expand 2.7% this year and 2.3% in 2023, the bloc’s executive arm said Monday — its first economic predictions since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The European Commission’s previous outlook expected growth of 4% this year and 2.8% in 2023. The EU economy expanded 5.4% last year following a deep recession prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. GDP shrank 5.9% in 2020.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has posed new challenges, just as the union had recovered from the economic impacts of the pandemic,” the commission said when releasing the forecast. “The war is exacerbating pre-existing headwinds to growth.”

The war darkened what was generally a bright economic picture for the EU. Early this year, European policymakers were counting on solid, if weaker, growth while grappling with surging inflation triggered by a global energy squeeze.

Now, energy has become a key problem for the EU as it seeks sanctions that deny Russia tens of billions in trade revenue without plunging member countries into recession. Soaring energy prices are driving record inflation, making everything from food to housing more expensive.

Russia is the EU’s top supplier of oil, natural gas and coal, accounting for around a quarter of the bloc’s total energy. EU imports of energy from Russia last year totaled 99 billion euros ($103 billion), or 62% of the bloc’s purchases of Russian goods.

An EU ban on coal from Russia is due to start in August and a voluntary effort is underway to reduce demand for Russian natural gas by two-thirds this year. A proposed oil embargo has hit roadblocks amid reservations from some landlocked countries that are highly dependent on Russian oil, such as Hungary.

All of this has left the EU scrambling to secure alternative supplies of energy in the coming months, including from fossil-fuel exporting countries such as the United States and from domestic renewable sources meant to help the bloc achieve its longer-term climate goals.

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EU cuts forecast for economic growth as war’s fallout widens Brussels russia Ukraine war
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