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Michel Pébereau underlined the difficulty of economic forecasting in 2003. He mentionned political risk (terrorism, a possible conflict with Iraq). He stressed on quality of BNP Paribas economic research, the professionalism and the independance of BNP Paribas' economists.

Philippe d'Arvisenet presented the outlook for the US, showing that last year's recovery was based on households consumption and on the adoption of an accommodative economic policy. In the last few months the recovery lost steam. Excluding geopolitical risks one could expected reacceleration in economic activity, investment getting more dynamic in the second half of 2002. Regarding eurozone, the optimism is very mitigated. Until now, growth has been mediocre and the prospect of improvement are limited, the scope for a more agressive economic policy is reduced, however one can hope that the appreciation of the euro would be taken an invitation for lower rates.

Philippe d'Arvisenet Chief Economist BNP Paribas

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