Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Still, it could be worse - we might have been in the Eurozone

And things are even worse there!

The eurozone is tipping into a deeper downturn than America itself despite the tremors in the US mortgage industry, and may already be in full recession for the first time since the launch of the single currency.

Industrial production for the EMU bloc fell 1.9pc in May, according to fresh Eurostat data. It is the sharpest one-month decline for the region since the exchange rate crisis in 1992. Officials in Berlin have warned that Germany's economy could contract by as much as 1.5pc in the second quarter as export orders crumble.

Industrial output in both Italy and Greece has slumped 6.6pc over the past year. Portugal is off 6.2pc. "It is a very ugly picture: we're on maximum alert," said Emma Marcegaglia, head of Italy's business federation Confindustria.

I've got a feeling that things are going to get even more ugly.

Spain is now spiralling into the worst crisis since the Franco dictatorship. "The economy is in dire straits," said Dominic Bryant, Spain expert at BNP Paribas.

Spain's premier, Jose Luis Zapatero, blamed the European Central Bank for making matters worse by raising interest rates into the teeth of the crisis last week. He called the move "irresponsible".

You see, that's the trouble with handing the fiscal control of your nation to a supranational body - you lose many of the elements by which you can control your economy. Fortunately we managed to avoid that one (just). Hopefully, everyone can now see just how "irresponsible" that would have been.

No comments: