Saturday, 24 January 2009

Europe in recession

Britain officially joins the recession club. Reuters reports:

The Office for National Statistics said the economy shrank by 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, the biggest drop since 1980. That followed a 0.6 percent decline in the third quarter, fulfilling the technical definition of recession.

Meanwhile, the euro area appears to have remained in recession this month. From Bloomberg:

Europe’s manufacturing and service industries contracted for an eighth month in January as the global recession curbed demand for exports and damped spending.

A composite index of both industries was at 38.5 compared with 38.2 in December, which was the lowest reading since the survey began in 1998. Economists forecast a decline to 37.4, according to the median of 15 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. The index is based on a survey of purchasing managers by Markit Economics and a reading below 50 indicates contraction...

A gauge of manufacturing activity was at 34.5 after reaching a record low of 33.9 in December. The services index rose to 42.5 from 42.1.

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