According to the latest European Commission economic forecast released on Friday, the EU economy “entered a shallow recession in the fourth quarter” and is expected to be flat for 2012. The eurozone economy is also in recession and is expected to contract by 0.3 percent this year.
Meanwhile, Friday's data show that Asia is also slowing.
In China, growth in industrial output slowed to 9.3 percent year-on-year in April, the lowest level in nearly three years, from 11.9 percent in March. Urban fixed asset investments in the first four months of 2012 rose 20.2 percent compared with a year earlier, slowing from 20.9 percent in the first three months. Retail sales rose 14.1 percent year-on-year in April compared with an increase of 15.2 percent in March. Inflation also slowed to 3.4 percent year in April from 3.6 per cent in March. The value of home sales from January to April fell 13.5 percent from a year earlier.
In India, industrial output contracted by 3.5 percent from a year ago in March. Output had increased 4.1 percent in February.
Data for the US economy on Friday remained positive though. Consumer confidence reached its highest level in four years in May as the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary sentiment index climbed to 77.8 this month from 76.4 the prior month. This comes as inflation appears to be cooling, with producer prices falling 0.2 percent in April.