Economic environment in 2016
Europe has seen a stable economic performance in 2016. While the overall GDP growth was about the same in comparison with 2015 – slightly below 2% - the increased economic, financial and political uncertainties did show in the significant discrepancies between countries.
Many countries saw a stabilization or deceleration of their GDP growth in 2016 from 2015’s already weak reading. While the impact on economy from terrorist attacks, refugee migration, or political instability has not been proven, these developments have led to increased uncertainty, which dented growth in Turkey, Italy, Greece, France, and other countries in the region.
Eastern European countries generally achieved solid growth rates. Romania and Slovakia for instance, delivered 5% and 3.5% GDP growth respectively. In Russia, recession continued in 2016, although the pace of GDP decline has slowed down to less than -1%.
Amidst the various political and economic headwinds, the European automotive and construction markets - sectors which are crucial for Europe’s prosperity and highly relevant for Bekaert’s activities - witnessed continued strong demand in 2016. Energy-related markets, however, were heavily affected by the downturn in the oil and gas sector.
Bekaert has a presence in both the Western and the Central & Eastern European markets. In Europe, we offer a quality portfolio of advanced steel wire products for sectors that are in search of innovative, high-end products and solutions.