Look around. Take a good long and hard look because the data is becoming unsettling and it is pouring in from all over the world. In China, where a hard landing was thought to have been avoided; one moment please, not so fast. China’s industrial output is now the weakest since 2009 and the latest figures represent the seventh consecutive quarter of deceleration. Most troubling is that China’s sales to Europe declined -16.2% last month which is a huge drop off and shows clearly the recession that is taking place and worsening on the Continent. Estimates for Chinese third quarter growth are being reduced on an almost daily basis and loan demand has taken a drubbing. The world’s growth engine is sputtering and there will be consequences. In the other driver of Asian growth Japan is markedly weakening. GDP expanded at 2.3% in the last quarter which was down almost 50% from the first quarter of this year. A Bloomberg survey places growth at just 1.00% for this quarter and there may be a negative number by the fourth quarter.
In Europe the situation is dramatically worsening with virtually every country in a recession with the notable exception of Germany though I predict they will join the club by the fourth quarter of this year or by the first quarter of next year. Italy just reported out their GDP at -2.5% for the second quarter and their prospects are not good with the third quarter likely to be down more than three percent in my estimation. Borrowing costs are also beginning to weigh on Italy as they have a two trillion dollar sovereign debt where their ten year is +441 to Germany and not likely to get better anytime soon. Even if you are a believer in some new ECB/ESM scheme the German courts will not opine on the ESM until September 12 and then there are still a number of countries that have not approved the plan so that any actualization of some scheme is unlikely to come before late in the third quarter or in the fourth quarter.
Read More: Surveying The Landscape | ZeroHedge