Central and Eastern Europe remains an important growth engine for UniCredit Group. According to the Italian bank, the economic environment in CEE is expected to remain favourable in 2019 with GDP growth forecast to stay solid in most countries, at around three per cent or higher.
“The economic progress in CEE over the past two decades has been remarkable. The CEE region is also well banked, highly liquid and characterised by a high level of competitiveness across all jurisdictions,” commented Carlo Vivaldi, head of the CEE Division at UniCredit.
Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary are expected to show the most solid GDP growth in 2019 within the region. At the same time, tightening labour markets and a possible hard Brexit will be the main constraints for CEE economic growth, especially in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Domestic demand, and especially consumption, driven by low unemployment and higher wages, will be the main sources of growth for CEE economies while export will be subject to a possible cyclical slowdown over the next few years. Digital transformation will present additional opportunities for growth in the region.
“The fast-changing business environment and challenges imposed by the digital landscape alongside the need to constantly improve customer experience have become one of the most important areas for companies to invest in,” said Andrea Diamanti, head of CEE CIB and PB at UniCredit.
“In today’s competitive market, these are imperative for market leaders as customers expect their financial service providers to keep up with the pace of change. As a result, the interactions clients have with their bank are increasingly characterised by a growing degree of automation through digital processes.”