October 5, 2018 / 8:47 AM / 15 days ago

Austrian think-tanks lower economic growth forecasts for 2018

BERLIN (Reuters) - Austria’s two main economic think-tanks lowered their forecasts for the country’s economic growth this year, citing growing concern over Britain’s exit from the European Union and U.S. trade policy.

Buildings being renovated and under construction can be seen near shoppers as they walk along a street in the central business district (CBD) of Sydney in Australia, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray

Wifo, which compiles gross domestic product (GDP) data for the government, forecast 3.0 percent GDP growth for this year, down from a 3.2 percent estimate it gave three months ago.

It now expects growth to slow to 2.0 percent next year, down from its previous forecast for 2.2 percent, as emerging market currency crises, U.S. trade policy and questions over Brexit overshadow global trade, weighing on Austrian export growth and companies’ willingness to invest.

“Private household spending will continue to support the economy but will not fully compensate for the decline in export demand,” it said.

The other think-tank, IHS, which generally takes a more conservative approach, trimmed its GDP growth forecast to 2.7 percent, three months after it had raised it to 2.9 percent from 2.8 percent.

IHS still expects Austrian economic growth to slow sharply to 1.7 percent in 2019.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Thomas Seythal

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