The end of the week produced a big surprise in the form of a contraction in UK GDP. Reuters reports:
The economy contracted unexpectedly in the third quarter of this year, squashing hopes of an end to the downturn and instead making the current recession the longest on record, official data showed on Friday.
The Office for National Statistics said British gross domestic product fell by 0.4 percent between July and September, meaning the economy has contracted for six successive quarters for the first time since records began in 1955.
This was much worse than analysts' expectations of a 0.2 percent rise. Not a single analyst out of the 35 polled by Reuters before the data had expected a negative reading.
Elsewhere in Europe, the data were much better. From Bloomberg:
Europe’s manufacturing expanded for the first time in 17 months and services industries grew at a faster pace in October as evidence mounted that the global economy is pulling out of the recession.
An index of manufacturing increased to 50.7 from 49.3 in September and a services gauge rose to 52.3 from 50.9, London- based Markit Economics said today. Both indexes topped economist forecasts, and the factory gauge climbed above 50, indicating expansion, for the first time since May 2008...
A composite index of manufacturing and services industries in the euro-area economy rose to 53 from 51.1 in September, Markit said in today’s report. That was the highest since December 2007 and above the 51.6 that economists had projected in a Bloomberg survey.
And German business confidence rose to a 13-month high in October, the Ifo index climbing to 91.9 from 91.3 in September.
Meanwhile, in the US, sales of existing homes surged a record 9.4 percent in September.