As an open economy, the euro area feels the consequences of the worldwide economic slowdown. But markets are not just pricing in a cyclical slowdown. Instead, interest rates and inflation expectations are reflecting a prolonged period of low structural growth and inflation. If markets are right, this would mean a secular stagnation. Just like Japan experienced since the bursting of its asset bubbles in the early nineties.
Undoubtedly, there are some similarities between Japan and the euro area. Among others, an ageing population, issues within the banking sector or higher private savings. On the other hand, the euro area (until now) avoided the deflationary environment. And it still has policy room to avoid a straightforward ‘Japanification’ of its economy.