Eurozone Economy Is Leading Global Slowdown

The 19-country EuroZone economy could expand by just 1% in 2019 with industrial production falling at the fastest rate since the global financial crisis.

This time it’s the core economies of Germany and France, which together make up about half of the EuroZone economy, that are showing the biggest slowdown. Germany is suffering through a lengthy slump in manufacturing as a result of a slowdown in the country’s exports. In France the problem seems to be domestic with household spending showing no growth at all.

Thursday brings fourth-quarter GDP data from Germany, the Netherlands and the EuroZone as a whole. Numbers released today show a 0.9% drop in industrial production in December from November. That was twice as big a drop as economists had forecast.

Today Goldman Sachs projected negative economic growth for the EuroZone in the first quarter with a pickup to slightly positive growth in the second quarter of the year.

Numbers like these certainly take any action by the European Central Bank to raise interest rates off the table for 2019and quite possibly for 2020 as well. The bigger problem, though, is that with benchmark interest rates solidly negative, the central bank doesn’t have a lot left in the tank to stimulate growth.

That stands in contrast to China where the slowdown in growth–to 6.3% in the fourth quarter from 6.6%–is steeper but where the People’s Bank and the government in Beijing have plenty of stimulus to aim at the economy.