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.
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.
Britain’s economy is steaming ahead – by one measure faster than any other large developed or emerging economy – but history suggests it will struggle to sustain the rapid growth indicated in business and confidence surveys.
With little sign of economic recovery in Europe and governments incrementally loosening their austerity drives (Britain being the exception) the focus turns to the big central banks on our patch and what more they might be able to do to foster some recovery.
* Updated to show Scotland’s composite PMI has bettered the UK equivalent for seven straight months now, after Monday’s data.
A sudden turn for the worse across German companies should clinch an interest rate cut from the European Central Bank next week, or in June at the latest.