World Economy

Eurozone Growth Stable

Eurozone Growth StableEurozone Growth Stable

Very slowly–and primarily because of massive stimulus from the European Central Bank–the eurozone is showing signs of recovery. It is a dawn that policymakers are struggling to nurture into broad daylight.

It also may not be felt equally across the board, viz Spain and Greece’s unemployed versus Germany’s busy builders, Yahoo reported.

But putting aside for the moment that the eurozone’s nascent recovery is happening just as China is wobbling and financial markets are unhinged, the numbers look generally positive.

Economic growth was running at an annual rate of 1.6% in the third quarter. While this may not seem robust, it is roughly twice the average annual growth rate between 2003 and 2014 (itself dragged down by the sharp contraction of 2009), and the equal highest rate since 2010.

So, for the eurozone, reasonably good. ECB forecasters and economists polled by Reuters expect it to grow at a slightly faster pace this year at around 1.7%.

Other data–though sometimes mixed–also points to a stronger-than-advertised economic performance.

Unemployment has been falling fairly steadily. It was at 10.5% in November, which is high, but the lowest in more than four years and well below the 12% of 2013.

Consumer confidence is on the rise and economic sentiment is at a more than four-year high. Manufacturing, as measured by purchasing managers’ indexes, rose firmly into expansion in 2015, albeit still shy of its 2013 peak.

Economic conditions are stabilizing in China and the outlook is for steady growth in the eurozone, while the US and UK economies are losing steam, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Monday, Reuters reported.

The Paris-based OECD said that its monthly leading economic indicator, supposed to capture economic turning points, showed signs of stabilization in both China and Brazil.

“In the United Kingdom and the United States, the Composite Leading Indicators point to easing growth, albeit from relative high levels,” it said in a statement. “Among the major emerging economies, the CLIs for China and Brazil confirm the tentative signs of stabilization flagged in last month’s assessment,” it said. “In Russia, the CLI anticipates growth losing momentum while the CLI for India signals firming growth.”

On an index where 100 represents the long-term average, the OECD said the eurozone economy remained at 100.6 in its latest review of conditions, with Italy and France healthily above the benchmark at 100.9.

The US reading edged lower, to 99.1 from 99.2, while the UK reading dipped to 99.1 from 99.3.

China stood at 98.4, up from 98.3 in the previous month’s report. Brazil’s reading rose to 99.5 from 99.3 while Russia went from 99.6 to 99.4.