Data dependent, they claim. They aren’t. Mario Draghi at his last press conference admitted, “incoming information, [is] somewhat weaker than expected.” There is so much riding on the word “somewhat.” Because of the weasel, the head of the ECB told the assembled media policy normalization was unimpeded. He did so with a straight face.
Good. Europe’s QE experiment needs to end. Not because it succeeded, rather since there was no hope for it from the beginning. It was a giant waste, at best an enormous distortion. At most, it was a huge distraction from the real problem.
You have to hand it to the Germans. They seem quite capable of the more serious business of economics (small “e”). Where Economists (capital “E”) like Draghi play the game of somewhat data dependent, businesses in Germany refuse license to the same luxury. They are business dependent, meaning that if things really were booming they would act that way. And if something like recession looms, the Germans would know it.
And that’s exactly what they’ve said for much of this year particularly the past four or five months. The global economy, which heavily influences Germany’s, is heading for another downturn. For Europe as a whole, it’s a whole lot of trouble.
The European Union’s statistical body confirms today what German sentiment has been warning about. The European economy is already on the precipice of recession. The ZEW survey in September was as low as it was when Europe was last contracting. In Q3 2018, Eurostat reports that GDP expanded by just 0.16% over Q2. That was about one-third the rate in Q2, which was itself about three-quarters the gain in 2017.
Data dependent. Like the ZEW index, GDP growth was the lowest since Europe’s last recession.
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