If emerging markets are to lead global economic performance one again as they did in recent years, an important foundation will be to convince as many people as possible that reported growth data are as accurate as they can possibly be.
Market forecasts for Brazil’s economic growth this year have been falling steadily for months, reaching a meager 0.5 percent in Reuters latest quarterly poll published on Thursday. One year ago, a similar survey predicted growth of 2.5 percent in 2015.
Brazil’s newly-re-elected government is set to announce on Friday that the recession that began at the start of 2014 is now over. But a minefield of risks surrounding Latin America’s largest economy recommends caution before celebration.
While few people have had serious hopes for a prolonged Japanese economic boom for a long time, the range of forecasts provided for Japan’s recent economic performance gives you an idea of just how wildly unexpected the news was today that it is back in recession.
from Lawrence Summers:
The British economy has experienced the most rapid growth in the G7 over the last few months. It increased at an annual rate of more than 3 percent in the last quarter -- even as the U.S. economy barely grew, continental Europe remained in the doldrums and Japan struggled to maintain momentum in the face of a major new valued added tax increase.
The two forecasting teams that came closest to predicting the U.S. economy would nearly stall in the first quarter expect other key economic data due this week to be strong.
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.