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Country Forecast Cyprus 3rd Quarter 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Cyprus 3rd Quarter 2018 Updater

  • July 2018
  • ID: 5474827
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • After almost two years of talks aimed at establishing a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal state to end the de facto division of the island, UN-backed negotiations between the Greek Cypriot leader and president of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, collapsed in July 2017.
  • Entrenched distrust between the two communities and long-standing divergences on politically sensitive issues make a solution, especially one that can be passed in referendums in both parts of the island, unlikely.
  • The main challenges for Mr Anastasiades's minority Democratic Rally (Disy) government will be to maintain economic reform momentum in a fragmented parliament and try to mitigate the negative effect on the Cypriot economy of the UK's vote to leave the EU.
  • Cyprus exited its EU/IMF-backed bail-out programme in March 2016. EU and IMF monitoring will continue, via a Post-Programme Monitoring scheme. The Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect past reforms to be reversed, but the absence of a bail-out programme has caused progress on reforms to moderate, and significant challenges to future reform momentum remain.
  • Cyprus's banks remain well capitalised. Non-performing loans, although declining, are still high, at 40% of total credit in December 2017, and could pose a risk to the recovery of the banking sector over the medium term.
  • Following large deficits in 2009-14, the budget balance has improved steadily to record a surplus of 0.3% of GDP in 2016 and 1.8% in 2017. We forecast a surplus of 1% of GDP on average in 2018-19. In 2020-22 we forecast a balanced budget on average, as a moderation in economic growth slows the growth in revenue.
  • In 2017 the economic recovery became firmly entrenched, with real GDP growth of 3.9%. In 2016 the economy grew by 3.4%, following milder growth of 2% in 2015, the first year of recovery. In 2018-19 we forecast average growth of 3.1%, followed by a deceleration to around 1.8% in 2020 in the context of a cyclical slowdown in the US. We expect average GDP growth of 2.3% in 2021-22.
  • After several years of deflation in 2013-16, driven by a combination of weak domestic demand and low international commodity prices, consumer prices have started to pick up as these two factors have begun to recover. We expect inflation to accelerate from 0.5% in 2017 to 0.9% in 2018.

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