23 August 2009

SproutWatch August

Plenty of green shoots around this month, but are any of these sprouts going to take root?

First lets see how the three part economic crisis looks according to my traffic lights.

Banking Crisis: I measure this crisis using the spread between the policy rate and the LIBOR, which is down to 25pb. Another 5bp and it could go amber. But for now we are still on red.

Debt/Demand Crisis: The Economist poll of polls forecast for 2010 has slipped back to 1% GDP growth. To be fair, this figure came before the Q2 GDP figures were published and so next month could see the forecast rise. For now it is as red as ever.

Trade Crisis: The index is up. Trade is more imbalanced than last month.

For details of the indeces see the small print.

Is the gloom unrelieved? There are some genuine green shoots, just not in the UK. (I don't mean France and Germany which are getting a boost from the fiscal stimulus, but I have urged caution on one quarter's figures.) The real green shoots are in Asia. If Asia's growth is generated without the help of Western consumers then this all round good news. China needs to expand domestic demand both to survive the global downturn and to help balance the trade flows.

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