Polarization and populism: Europe and Central Asia economic update

There will be a modest increase in GDP growth in 2016 for countries in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region. Low oil and other commodity prices in the eastern half of the region, a decline in investment rates in the European Union, and ongoing structural challenges in all countries are hampering growth in the region and contributing to an increase in populism and polarization, says the latest World Bank ECA Economic Update. According to the report, the region is expected to grow a modest 1.6 percent in 2016 – up slightly from 1.4 percent in 2015 – but declines in both incomes and consumption will likely mitigate this modest growth. This trend is projected to continue into 2017 and 2018, with growth forecast at 1.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

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