While still signaling a solid rate of economic expansion in Britain, the latest batch of business surveys from Markit/CIPS will do little to quell unease about the lopsidedness of the recovery.
The recent stretch of dire economic data from Germany is starting to bear an unfortunate resemblance to late 2008 – when Lehman Brothers collapsed and the world tipped into the worst recession since the Great Depression.
It looks like Britain might have to wait a while longer before its much-touted export recovery materialises.
Two reports out today suggest economic growth has been moderate in the US since the beginning of the year. Consumer spending rose more than expected in January, according to the Commerce Department, likely because of high demand for heating.
French economic growth unexpectedly picked up to 0.3 percent in the final three months of last year, welcome news and a rare positive shock for some particularly gloomy forecasters who were looking for shrinkage or no growth at all.
US manufacturing grew last month, although not as much as it had in the previous month. The US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, fell to 53.7 in January from an 11-month high of 55.0 in December. Anything above 50 indicates expansion.
A perfect storm seems to be brewing for the Russian rouble. It has tumbled to four-year lows against a euro-dollar basket. Against the dollar, it has lost around 7 percent so far this year, faring better than many other emerging currencies. But signs are that next year will bring more turmoil.