Europe’s Stagnating Economy Falls Further Behind the U.S.
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,587,785 (-9.64%)       Melbourne $968,477 (-1.28%)       Brisbane $894,769 (-1.51%)       Adelaide $810,780 (-6.94%)       Perth $764,276 (-4.92%)       Hobart $750,134 (+1.16%)       Darwin $645,801 (-3.38%)       Canberra $1,017,220 (+3.56%)       National $1,010,264 (-5.75%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $725,381 (-1.27%)       Melbourne $488,555 (-0.24%)       Brisbane $499,581 (-5.39%)       Adelaide $411,364 (-4.41%)       Perth $414,273 (-2.57%)       Hobart $498,192 (-6.11%)       Darwin $351,130 (-4.84%)       Canberra $480,942 (-4.46%)       National $506,040 (-3.24%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,047 (+6,578)       Melbourne 14,543 (+5,785)       Brisbane 8,228 (+1,243)       Adelaide 2,741 (+600)       Perth 6,788 (+1,322)       Hobart 1,219 (+48)       Darwin 269 (+17)       Canberra 1,013 (+155)       National 44,848 (+15,748)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,226 (+4,905)       Melbourne 7,846 (+2,295)       Brisbane 1,759 (+304)       Adelaide 499 (+101)       Perth 1,899 (+331)       Hobart 186 (-9)       Darwin 388 (+26)       Canberra 854 (+60)       National 21,657 (+8,013)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $780 ($0)       Melbourne $590 ($0)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $600 ($0)       Perth $650 ($0)       Hobart $550 (-$10)       Darwin $680 ($0)       Canberra $690 ($0)       National $652 (-$1)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $725 (-$5)       Melbourne $580 ($0)       Brisbane $620 (-$10)       Adelaide $450 (-$20)       Perth $600 (+$15)       Hobart $470 (-$10)       Darwin $570 ($0)       Canberra $570 ($0)       National $584 (-$3)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,614 (+7)       Melbourne 5,631 (-24)       Brisbane 4,055 (-125)       Adelaide 1,248 (+4)       Perth 1,830 (+7)       Hobart 380 (+12)       Darwin 153 (-19)       Canberra 664 (-12)       National 19,575 (-150)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 7,725 (-368)       Melbourne 5,038 (-276)       Brisbane 2,044 (-65)       Adelaide 394 (+11)       Perth 594 (-34)       Hobart 139 (+1)       Darwin 285 (-5)       Canberra 590 (-16)       National 16,809 (-752)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.55% (↑)      Melbourne 3.17% (↑)      Brisbane 3.60% (↑)      Adelaide 3.85% (↑)      Perth 4.42% (↑)        Hobart 3.81% (↓)     Darwin 5.48% (↑)        Canberra 3.53% (↓)     National 3.36% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.20% (↑)      Melbourne 6.17% (↑)      Brisbane 6.45% (↑)      Adelaide 5.69% (↑)      Perth 7.53% (↑)      Hobart 4.91% (↑)      Darwin 8.44% (↑)      Canberra 6.16% (↑)      National 6.01% (↑)             HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)        National 0.9% (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 36.6 (↓)       Melbourne 40.8 (↓)       Brisbane 36.8 (↓)       Adelaide 31.2 (↓)       Perth 41.1 (↓)       Hobart 41.6 (↓)       Darwin 49.2 (↓)       Canberra 39.9 (↓)       National 39.7 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 36.2 (↓)       Melbourne 39.2 (↓)       Brisbane 33.8 (↓)       Adelaide 30.0 (↓)     Perth 43.3 (↑)      Hobart 43.8 (↑)        Darwin 33.7 (↓)       Canberra 45.3 (↓)       National 38.2 (↓)           
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Europe’s Stagnating Economy Falls Further Behind the U.S.

Thanks to robust growth and its relative insulation from geopolitical crisis, the U.S. economy has left Europe behind

By PAUL HANNON and Yuka Hayashi
Wed, Jan 31, 2024 8:38amGrey Clock 4 min

Europe’s economy stagnated in the final three months of last year, expanding a divide between a booming U.S. economy and a European continent that is increasingly left behind.

The fresh economic data showed higher borrowing costs had compounded the earlier impact of higher energy prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

By contrast, the U.S. economy has been expanding robustly and enjoyed its strongest performance relative to the eurozone since 2013—with the exception of the Covid-19 pandemic.

One factor that is threatening to weigh further on the European economy is its proximity to geopolitical flashpoints. Russia’s war on Ukraine sent energy prices rocketing in 2022, hitting European manufacturers. The U.S., as an energy producer, was comparatively unaffected, and its natural-gas industry even benefited when it became Europe’s energy supplier of last resort after Russia throttled gas deliveries to the region.

Now the crisis in the Middle East, which has gummed up cargo traffic through the Red Sea, is adding costs to European importers and disrupting European supply chains. There too, the U.S. hasn’t suffered as much since it has alternative routes for goods coming from Asia.

Europe’s Stoxx 600 index rose 12.64% last year, a little over half the performance of the S&P 500, which rose 24.23% over the same period.

The European Union’s statistics agency Tuesday said gross domestic product in the eurozone was unchanged in the final three months of last year. That followed a decline in the three months through September. During 2023 as a whole, Eurostat recorded growth of just 0.5%, while the U.S. economy expanded by 2.5%.

Still, the divergence between the giant economic blocs is more a story of surprising U.S. strength than unanticipated weakness in the eurozone. The U.S. grew much faster than economists had expected it would at the start of 2023, while the eurozone was about as badly hit by high energy prices and rising interest rates as had been expected. Economists forecast the growth gap will narrow somewhat in the course of the year.

Europe’s policymakers don’t expect the stagnation in output to extend deep into 2024. Instead, they see a pickup in activity as wages rise faster than prices, reversing the declines in real incomes that followed the war in Ukraine and a rise in energy and food bills.

“We have the conditions for recovery that are coming into place,” said European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde Thursday. “I’m not suggesting that it’s going to pick up radically, but it’s coming into place from what we see.”

Helping Europe is the fact that energy prices are falling from post-invasion highs faster than policymakers had expected. That should help boost household spending on other goods and services and lower costs for Europe’s hard-pressed factories.

With inflation easing, the ECB is expected to lower its key interest rate later this year, which would also jolt growth by easing the pressure on household spending and business investment.

Yet the eurozone faces fresh threats too, mainly from the conflict that began with the attack on Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7. Disruptions to shipping in the Red Sea have pushed freight costs sharply higher and led to delays for European manufacturers that rely on Asian suppliers for parts. A further escalation of the conflict could reverse the decline in energy costs and stall the anticipated recovery.

The International Monetary Fund now expects the eurozone to grow by 0.9% this year, a downgrade from its previous 1.2% growth estimate, according to the Fund’s quarterly World Economic Outlook report published on Tuesday. By contrast, it sees the U.S. growing by 2.1% against its earlier 1.5% forecast.

Strong U.S. growth and an estimated 4.6% increase in China’s GDP according to the IMF should more than offset Europe’s disappointing performance and translate into a soft landing for the world economy this year. The IMF now sees the world economy growing at 3.1% this year, the same rate as last year and faster than the 2.9% growth projected in October.

“We find that the global economy continues to display remarkable resilience,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, IMF Chief Economist, told reporters, pointing to the speed at which inflation had receded as a positive surprise.

He warned, however, that geopolitical distortions could reignite price increases. Core inflation—which excludes volatile energy and food prices—isn’t quite back to the pre pandemic trend, particularly for services sector prices, he said.

IMF economists also cautioned that financial markets have been overly optimistic in anticipating early rate cuts by central banks. They project policy interest rates to remain at current levels for the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England until the second half of 2024, before gradually declining as inflation moves closer to targets. Some investors and analysts expect a Federal Reserve rate cut in the first half of this year.

Back in Europe, Tuesday’s GDP data showed Germany was the weakest of Europe’s large economies at the end of last year, with output falling in the final quarter. However, revised figures showed it avoided a contraction in the three months through September.

“The economy remains stuck in the twilight zone between recession and stagnation,” said Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING Bank.

While Italy’s economy expanded slightly, the French economy flatlined for the second straight quarter. Ireland, which had been a major source of growth for the eurozone over the previous decade, saw its GDP fall by 1.9% in 2023 as a pandemic-driven boom in its key pharmaceutical industry ended.

In a rare bright spot, Spain finished the year with another strong quarter and matched the U.S. growth rate over 2023 as a whole, thanks to a surge in international tourism as the last of the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.



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Even amid two international conflicts and an upcoming U.S. presidential election, some philanthropic leaders are optimistic about the direction of overall giving through 2024.

Penta spoke with heads of several non-profits and leading philanthropists to gauge whether charitable giving will continue its reported slump from 2023 or rebound alongside renewed interest in various political and economic issues.

“Contrary to what some might expect, philanthropy has had resilience in these times,” says Stacy Huston, executive director of Sixdegrees.org, a youth empowerment non-profit based in Virginia founded by actor Kevin Bacon in 2007.

Huston’s view echoes recent data from the biennial Bank of America Study of Philanthropy published last year, which found that while affluent giving is largely down, the value of the average philanthropic gift is up 19%, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

The notion of what these gifts look like is changing, and is partially responsible for the growth. Philanthropy can be executed through more avenues than ever, whether through celebrity association, tech titans stewarding large endowments, or  athletes using their platforms to advocate for and create meaningful change.

“The industry and movement is creating new models, and you want to get it right,” says Scott Curran, CEO of Chicago-based Beyond Advisers. “No one should take their foot off the gas pedal.”

Curran spent a number of years with the Clinton Foundation in its infancy before leaving in 2016 to open his own consultancy, which focuses on philanthropy strategy at the highest levels. Curran and his team work with celebrities, athletes, multi-generational family foundations, and other affluent givers who need guidance in directing their philanthropic efforts. It’s a growing area of interest: Over half of affluent households with a net worth between US$5 million and US$20 million have, or are planning to establish, “some kind of giving vehicle” within the next three years, according to the Bank of America report.

Corporate philanthropy, rather than individual giving, is the cornerstone of Marcus Selig’s work as chief conservation officer at the National Forest Foundation, a Congressionally chartered non-profit based in Montana responsible for protecting millions of acres of public lands.

“Our outlook is business as usual,” he says, advising that giving may slow down, but not enough for the foundation to change course.

Factors such as political polarisation in the U.S. and the wars in Eastern Europe and the Middle East are pushing nonprofits to consider their niche, and how they might work with other groups, both on the corporate and philanthropic levels, Selig says.

“It leads to a little more sharing on the ground in what needs to be done,” he adds.

Steve Kaufer , founder of Massachusetts-headquartered e-commerce giving platform Give Freely and founder of TripAdvisor, says that the economy has a much bigger role in election years, as he looks to build and grow something that can act as a “counterbalance.”

“There’s a trend towards democratisation, and acting collectively can lead to greater impact,” he says.

Kaufer’s new platform hopes to leverage the everyday philanthropist through online shopping dollars to benefit major charity partners like UNICEF and charity:water, who earn funds as shoppers choose an organisation to benefit through an online clickthrough process.

“Whether a good year or bad year, e-commerce will continue to keep growing,” he says. “Nobody doubts that.”

Whether a legacy foundation, corporation or individual, the political landscape this year is requiring some to exercise caution as they consider what their own charitable actions might be and how it could be viewed more broadly. For the personal philanthropist, every move is now scrutinised more closely. On the nonprofit side, entities are exercising more due diligence to understand if a specific donor aligns with their mission and that there aren’t any underlying issues that could cause greater pushback.

“You have to be able to walk the walk,” Huston says. “For example, we’ve had to turn down very large donor checks from corporations because there’s a Reddit stream calling them out on their human rights practices.”

She adds that even a routine charity activation could now be aligned with a political party, and that adds complexities to how a higher-profile organisation like Six Degrees can activate, especially as the film Footloose turns 40 in 2024 (which Bacon starred in).

“A lot of organisations and states want to align themselves with this feel good moment, and we should be able to stand side by side with everyone, but we have to be aware,” she says.

Another topic attracting donor interest today is  mental health, an area that historically has been underfunded and under-resourced by philanthropy, according to Two Bridge partner Harris Schwartzberg, who has been closely linked to the mental health space for more than a decade.

Today, the issue for mental health nonprofits is less about resources and more about societal divisiveness and polarisation around the topic. There’s an “overwhelming demand” for solutions, but the space is in a “perfect storm” for the broader political issues to make things worse, Schwartzberg says.

In Curran’s opinion, the storms brewing are troublesome, but they are also creating new opportunities for corporate and personal giving. The  current state of philanthropy is one of “dynamic, expansive, and blurred lines,” meaning a careful blending of targeted giving combined with an understanding of the broader geopolitical landscape could lead to a successful overall philanthropic strategy.

“There are a lot of headlines that distract, but shouldn’t,” he says. “2024 needs more serious philanthropists than ever.”

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