General economic environment 1)Sources: EU Commission: European Economic Forecast Spring 2020, 6 May 2020. IHS (Institute for Advanced Studies): Press Release, 26 March 2020. IMF (International Monetary Fund): World Economic Outlook, 14 April 2020. WIFO (Austrian Institute for Economic Research): Business Cycle Scenario, 26 March 2020. WU Wien (Vienna University of Economics and Business): Press Release Joint Economic Forecast IHS/IIASA/WIFO/WU, 20 March 2020.

Until shortly before the reporting date, the first half of the 2019/2020 fiscal year year (1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020) was characterised by noticeably slower but still moderate global economic growth compared with the previous year. Geopolitical uncertainties such as international trade conflicts and trouble spots, Brexit and climate change continued to characterise the economic environment in the reporting period. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the associated massive restrictions in the last weeks of the reporting period, the stabilisation of the global economy, which had been predicted for 2020, was abruptly interrupted. In mid-April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) corrected its forecasts for 2020 by 6.3 percentage points to -3%, assuming the worst recession since the 1930s. Economic experts anticipate global growth of 5.8% once again in 2021.

While the Austrian economy showed moderate growth of 1.6% in 2019, domestic economic research institutes have now massively downgraded their forecasts for 2020, which had anticipated growth at 1.2% and 1.3% before the pandemic. In the most probable scenario with the economy slowly picking up pace again from mid-May onwards, the Austrian institutes calculate a decline in economic output of -4.1% to -5.2% for the calendar year 2020. The IMF is far more cautious in this regard, predicting a figure of -7.0%. Assuming a rapid recovery in the second half of 2020, all institutes have forecast positive economic growth in the region of 2.7% to 5.0% for the 2021 calendar year. The assumption for the inflation rate is 1.0% on average for 2020 (2019: 1.5%).

Economic growth

real, in %




Czech Republic


Euro zone (19)








2020 e


Joint forecast for Austria -4.1
WIFO -5.2
EU Commission -5.5
IMF -7.0


EU Commission -6.2
IMF -6.5


EU Commission -7.7
IMF -7.5

2021 e


Joint forecast for Austria 2.7
WIFO 3.5
EU Commission 5.0
IMF 4.5


EU Commission 5.0
IMF 7.5


EU Commission 6.3
IMF 4.7

e = expected; forecast value

For the Euro zone, the forecast uncertainties are reflected in the fluctuation bandwidth of expert forecasts. The European Commission and the IMF expect economic output to decline by -7.5% and -7.7% in the Euro zone in 2020 (2019: 1.2%). For 2021, the IMF expects a recovery with economic growth of 4.7%, while the European Commission is far more optimistic at 6.3%.

For the Czech Republic market, relevant to Energie AG, the IMF and the European Commission forecast a decline in the gross domestic product of more than -6% in 2020 (2019: 2.6%), while a significant recovery (5.0% to 7.5%) is expected for 2021.

All forecasts are exposed to a high level of risk due to uncertainty about the further course of health and economic policy developments.

Economic growth and inflation

YoY real change (in %)
Sources: EU Commission, IHS, IMF, WIFO, Vienna University of Economics and Business

GDP Growth and Inflation (line chart)

Energy policy environment

On 11 December 2019, the European Commission published its “Green Deal”, which envisages binding climate neutrality by 2050 throughout the EU as a central objective. Following this, the Commission intends to present a plan to increase the current greenhouse gas reduction target from 40% to 50% respectively 55% by 2030. In this context, it can be assumed that some relevant legislative measures in the EU such as the Emissions Trading Directive, the Effort Sharing Regulation, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive will be significantly tightened. For Austria this will mean significantly more ambitious energy and climate targets in the coming years up to 2030.

Germany's last coal-fired power plant is due to shut down by 2038 at the latest, thus implementing a central pillar of the Climate Action Programme 2030. The German government passed the corresponding coal phase-out act on 29 January 2020. In combination with the nuclear phase-out by 2022, some 48 GW of power plant capacity will be taken off the grid by 2038 at the latest. The coal phase-out in Germany can therefore be expected to also have a significant impact on the Austrian electricity market and its prices.

Starting in 2021, the German government will introduce a national CO2 pricing system for the heating and transport sectors. A national CO2 emissions trading scheme will define a price for the emission of greenhouse gases for heating and driving, with the aim of exerting a guiding effect towards environmentally friendly behaviour. Up to and including 2025, emissions allowances will be issued at a continuously increasing fixed price of up to EUR 55.0/t. From 2026 onwards, a maximum emission level in line with the climate targets will be set; the level will be continuously reduced, thus increasing emissions allowance price to a maximum of EUR 65.0/t. A double burden for industrial plants which already take part in the European emissions trading system has been ruled out.

In due time at the end of 2019, the Austrian transitional government submitted a revised integrated national energy and climate plan 2030 to the EU Commission, taking into account the Commission's recommendations. According to the impact analysis the plan included, greenhouse gases can be reduced by 27% until 2030 because of the defined actions. However, it is necessary to implement further options by 2030 in order to achieve a reduction of 36%. The other main objectives of the plan are massive expansion of renewable energies, increasing energy efficiency and reducing dependence on imports of fossil fuels.

 The first federal coalition government between the Austrian People's Party and the Greens launched its government programme 2020 – 2024 for Austria on 2 January 2020. Climate protection is accorded very high priority in the government programme as one of the central challenges of the next decade. One material element is that of ascertaining that climate neutrality has been achieved by as early as 2040. Both a more stringent national energy and climate plan and new climate protection legislation with obligatory CO2 reductions and sectoral targets by 2040 and obligatory interim targets for 2030 are intended to contribute towards achieving this goal. Furthermore, an eco-social tax reform, which makes climate-damaging behaviour more expensive and relieves companies and private individuals in certain sectors, is intended to provide material support for the very ambitious decarbonisation target. To ensure climate neutrality by 2040, the building sector must also avoid the combustion of heating oil, coal and fossil gas for space heating and water heating in future. For coal and oil, the phase-out in new buildings will begin in 2020 and is due to be completed for all boilers by 2035 at the latest. In terms of the expansion of green electricity, the very ambitious balance-sheet target of 100% renewable energy in Austrian electricity consumption is envisaged for 2030. This means that about 27 TWh of green electricity will need to be added in just under 10 years.

1) Sources: EU Commission: European Economic Forecast Spring 2020, 6 May 2020. IHS (Institute for Advanced Studies): Press Release, 26 March 2020. IMF (International Monetary Fund): World Economic Outlook, 14 April 2020. WIFO (Austrian Institute for Economic Research): Business Cycle Scenario, 26 March 2020. WU Wien (Vienna University of Economics and Business): Press Release Joint Economic Forecast IHS/IIASA/WIFO/WU, 20 March 2020.