financial statements 2014

7. Economic outlook

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Global GDP will accelerate its growth from 3.3% in 2014 to 3.7% in 2015. This improvement is based on the increased traction provided by U.S. expansion, due to the decisive policies implemented by the U.S. authorities since the start of the crisis: capitalization of the financial system, fiscal stimuli and the extraordinary expansion of liquidity by the Fed. In Europe, the stronger measures taken by the ECB to avoid the scenario of continued deflation, the progress made toward banking union, and a less restrictive stance on fiscal policy should have contributed to a gradual improvement in growth in 2014, albeit at rates that are still very low. Meanwhile China will have continued its moderate slowdown, controlled by the authorities which are managing the transition from an export-oriented economy to one focused on services and domestic consumption. All these factors have led to many emerging economies having a less positive international outlook, with a worsening of the terms of trade for their commodity exports and less favorable conditions for accessing the global financial markets as a result of the gradual withdrawal of stimuli by the Fed over the year. Nevertheless, the decline in oil prices below the levels of early 2014 has a positive impact on the global economy as a whole, although not for oil exporting countries. More abundant oil at lower prices increases disposable income of households and fuel consuming companies, which encourages consumer spending and investment.

The expected growth scenario for 2015 is consistent with financial markets in which the euro will continue to lose against the dollar, in a trend that began in the third quarter of 2014; particularly if the expectations of additional relaxation by the central banks of Japan and China are consolidated. In this scenario, the outlook for the exchange rates of the currencies in which BBVA operates will be more dependent on idiosyncratic factors such as respective monetary and fiscal policies, which will try to give as much support as possible to demand growth.