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Results of the Q3 2016 ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF)

22 July 2016
  • Real GDP growth expectations have been revised downwards for 2017 and 2018. Longer-term growth expectations are unchanged.
  • Inflation expectations have been revised slightly down for 2017 and 2018. Longer-term inflation expectations are unchanged at 1.8%.
  • Unemployment rate expectations remain broadly unchanged on a declining trajectory

Respondents to the ECB’s Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) for the third quarter of 2016 have revised downwards their expectations for growth in euro area economic activity for both next year and the following one. The average point forecast now stands at 1.4% for 2017 (revised down by 0.2 percentage point) and at 1.6% for 2018 (revised down by 0.1 percentage point). Based on the information provided by the respondents, these revisions largely reflect an expected negative impact on the euro area from the UK referendum result.

The Q3 2016 SPF average point forecasts for inflation in 2016, 2017 and 2018 stand at 0.3%, 1.2% and 1.5% respectively. This implies that forecasts for 2016 are unchanged, while those for 2017 and 2018 have been revised slightly downwards, by 0.1 percentage point, compared with the survey round from the second quarter of 2016. Average longer-term inflation expectations (for 2021) remain unchanged at 1.8%. The balance of risks around this forecast is assessed as remaining on the downside.

Unemployment rate expectations remain broadly unchanged on a declining trajectory. The average point forecasts for the unemployment rate are 10.1% for 2016, 9.7% for 2017 and 9.5% for 2018.

Table: Results of the ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters for Q3 2016

(annual percentage changes, unless otherwise indicated)

Survey horizon 2016 2017 2018 Longer term (1)

HICP inflation


SPF Q3 2016

0.3 1.2 1.5 1.8

Previous SPF (Q2 2016)

0.3 1.3 1.6 1.8

Real GDP growth


SPF Q3 2016

1.5 1.4 1.6 1.7

Previous SPF (Q2 2016)

1.5 1.6 1.7 1.7

Unemployment rate (2)


SPF Q3 2016

10.1 9.7 9.5 8.8

Previous SPF (Q2 2016)

10.1 9.7 9.3 8.8

(1) Long-term expectations refer to 2021 for SPF Q3 2016 and to 2020 for the SPF Q2 2016.

(2) As a percentage of the labour force.

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  • The ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) is conducted on a quarterly basis and gathers expectations for the rates of inflation, real GDP growth and unemployment in the euro area for several horizons, together with a quantitative assessment of the uncertainty surrounding them. The participants in the survey are experts affiliated with financial or non-financial institutions based within the European Union. The survey results do not represent the views of the ECB’s decision-making bodies or of the ECB’s staff. The next ECB staff macroeconomic projections will be published on 8 September 2016.
  • Since 2015 the results of the SPF have been released on the ECB’s website. For surveys prior to the first quarter of 2015, see the ECB’s Monthly Bulletin (2002-14: Q1 – February, Q2 – May, Q3 – August, Q4 – November).
  • The SPF survey for the third quarter of 2016 was conducted between 30 June and 6 July 2016. The total number of responses was 51, which is slightly below the historical average number of responses (54) for the Q3 (July) round.
  • The SPF report and data are available via the SPF webpage and via the ECB’s Statistical Data Warehouse.

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