August 30, 2019 / 6:47 AM / 21 days ago

Austrian central bank sees increasing risks to 2020 economic growth

ALPBACH, Austria (Reuters) - Austria’s economic growth could further slow down next year in the wake of the global downturn and not even reach the 1.5% forecast for this year, its central bank ONB said.

The ONB kept its 2019 economic growth forecast from June, but it did not provide a figure for 2020 in its latest economic outlook. In June, the central bank had said it expects the Austrian gross domestic product (GDP) to increase 1.6% next year.

“We have deliberately not made a forecast for 2020 this time because we see so many uncertainty factors,” said Ewald Nowotny, outgoing ONB governor, on Thursday night. One of these risks was that a weakness in the German car industry could spill over and affect Austrian suppliers, he said.

“I assume that we will have to revise the 2020 forecast downwards,” the veteran policy maker said at a news conference in the province of Tyrol. “It could fall below the 1.5%, but it would be premature to say so.”

This decision no longer needs to be made by Nowotny but by his successor Robert Holzmann, who will take over as head of the central bank and member of the European Central Bank’s rate-setting governing council from Sunday.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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