“Truly dreadful data out this morning show that German industrial orders fell at their sharpest rate in more than two years in February, hit by a slump in foreign demand with Brexit uncertainty a possible contributory factor.
“Contracts for German goods slumped by fully 4.2 percent, double the rate of decline in January. While monthly industrial order data are highly volatile this will add to concerns that the eurozone’s largest economy has had a weak start to the year and suggest that more bad read-outs are to come.”
“An influential survey pointing to a decline in the service sector has sparked fears that the UK could be heading for a downturn.
“The sector, which accounts for 80% of the UK economy, unexpectedly shrank for the first time in almost three years last month, the survey indicates.
“The purchasing managers’ index from IHS Markit/CIPS fell to 48.9 in March from 51.3 in February, below forecasts.”
“Registrations of new vehicles in Italy fell 9.6 percent in March to 193,662, according to the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.
“Although March had one less selling day than a year ago, much of the blame was attributed to a loss in consumer confidence.”
“Italy’s ruling populists pushed ahead this week with efforts to seize control of the central bank and its gold reserves, stepping up their confrontation with a symbol of the country’s establishment.
“With two laws targeting the Bank of Italy under debate in parliament, the campaign is the latest attack on Italy’s independent institutions by leaders of the governing coalition, which is led by the antiestablishment 5 Star Movement and the nativist League.”
“Distressed assets in Spanish banks have declined sharply over the past five years but they remain above pre-crisis levels, the Bank of Spain says in its annual report on banking supervision.
“The central bank acknowledges banks’ balance sheets are better capitalised, and the level of toxic assets has substantially fallen since 2012–13. “However, its level is still high, above that observed before the crisis,” says governor Pablo Hernández de Cos.”
“Five years after the European Central Bank broke ground by cutting interest rates below zero, its officials are considering a redesign of the contentious policy…”
“If you’re seeking the key to the euro zone’s economic outlook, all roads lead to Rome.
“Italy’s public debt of €2.4 trillion ($2.7 trillion) is significantly bigger than its economy and among the largest in the currency union, making it the most dangerous. This debt mountain threatens the financial stability of Italy and the future of the euro: Any plans to strengthen the single currency must solve the question of who will bear this burden.”
“Washington: US services sector activity hit a more than 19-month low in March and private payrolls grew less than expected, underscoring a loss of momentum in the economy that supports the Federal Reserve’s move to suspend interest rate hikes this year.”
“Till now, China has met its GDP growth targets only because soaring debt allowed it to capitalize non-productive activity, i.e. value it at cost rather than its real economic value…
“What’s less-understood even now is that if China begins a serious deleveraging, reported GDP growth rates will fall by a lot more than expected — by more than the amount of non-productive activity that had formerly been capitalized. This is clear from the historical precedents. In every modern case where countries enjoyed similar investment-driven growth “miracles” and then suffered painful adjustments, medium- and long-term GDP growth rates slowed much more than even the most pessimistic projections.”
“Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso on Thursday said using government spending as a primary policy tool to boost employment and spur inflation, an idea backed by some U.S. academics, would backfire on the world’s third-biggest economy given its huge debt pile.
“Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda echoed Aso’s view in parliament, saying that the idea was unacceptable because it does not take into account the dangers of running a huge fiscal deficit.”
“Economists have raised their forecast for Argentina’s 2019 inflation rate to 36 percent from a previous estimate of 31.9 percent, according to the median forecast in the central bank’s monthly poll of analysts released on Wednesday…
“Economic turmoil in Argentina has left nearly a third of the country in poverty, pushed interest rates skyward and sent the peso tumbling in value against the dollar.”