Daily Commentary: Quick thoughts on European data

This past week made it abundantly that Europe is slowing fairly dramatically. A number of countries have entered recession. I have been saying since October that Europe was already in a recession and we are now seeing this. By April, when the Q1 statistics come out, what I said in October will finally be confirmed. The other day, I said I hoped the downturn would be shallow. But we know that even countries like the Netherlands are going to be forced into cuts in order to make targets. This says to me that we have a Europe-wide problem with slowing growth being met with cuts and even slower growth as a result.

I should flag the article below about Denmark because it shows that the slowing economies are not just in the euro zone. Rather, we are in a synchronised global growth slowdown, with Europe leading the way. I still hope that policy makers in Europe will realise that their policy responses have been debt deflationary and anti-growth. But to date, I just haven’t seen them make this recognition. Watch Spain and the Netherlands as two key countries in the periphery and the core to see how things play out because they should be test cases for a different policy response.

More next week

Have a good weekend. Here are some links.

  • Disconnect: Ex-Googlers Raise Funding To Stop Google, Facebook & More From Tracking Your Data | TechCrunch

    To help them in their crusade, the team has raised $600K in seed funding, led by Highland Capital Partners with participation from Charles River Ventures, and angels investors like David Cancel, Mark Jacobstein, Ramesh Haridas, Vikas Taneja, Chris Hobbs, and Andy Toebben.

  • Obama taps Jim Yong Kim for World Bank – latimes.com

    President Barack Obama will nominate Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank, a surprise pick for the international financial institution’s top job, senior administration officials said. The Korean-born Kim is a physician by training and a prominent figure in global health and development circles. Officials believe his experience will help counter criticism from developing countries that have grown weary of the U.S. stranglehold on the World Bank presidency.

  • Dutch Austerity Demands Risk Backfiring on Premier: Euro Credit – Bloomberg

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s demand for budget cuts in debt-laden southern Europe may backfire as the leader of one of the four remaining AAA euro countries struggles to narrow a bigger-than-planned deficit. His coalition must find 9 billion euros ($11.8 billion) in budget cuts this year, equal to 1.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, to meet European rules and protect the top credit grade that France and Austria lost in January.

  • Equity derivatives salesman: ‘The fun got squeezed out of it. That’s why I quit’ | Joris Luyendijk | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
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