There was mixed news from Europe yesterday.
Euro zone new industrial orders rose 2.3 percent in May from April and 14.2 percent year-on-year, well above forecasts. On the other hand, the Belgian National Bank's business confidence indicator fell to 5.4 in July from June's record high of 10.1, pointing to a weaker German Ifo business climate index, while the Confederation of British Industry's distributive trades survey indicated that retail sales growth eased slightly in July.
However, from a longer term perspective, the big disappointment of the day must be the failure of the WTO negotiations in Geneva on trade liberalisation.
A five-year global effort to liberalise world trade collapsed in acrimony, driving a stake into lofty ambitions to free up global commerce and help developing nations to climb out of poverty.
The collapse of talks among six key players from the 149-nation World Trade Organisation drove its chief Pascal Lamy to recommend an indefinite freeze in the faltering negotiations.