Recent data from China covering the first quarter of 2015 confirm that Chinese growth is as low as it was during the GFC, when the entire world economy (with the notable exception of Australia) plunged into the deepest recession since the Great Depression in 1930-1933. This time however, world growth, though a little weaker than it has been, is still positive.
Economic indicators in Europe are showing signs of life!
The reason this i such an exciting event is that the European economy has more or less stagnated for 7 years. Real (inflation-adjusted) GDP for the EU as a whole is still below the pre-GFC peak in Q1 2008, after a series of policy blunders by the ECB (European Central Bank) and by the EU and key European governments.
US employment data for February continued the strengthening trend of the last year, despite very cold weather over much of the eastern US and unseasonably warm weather/drought over the rest of the country. This was the highest increase in the three month average in a decade, if you ignore the short-lived spike when the US Federal Government hired a couple of hundred thousand temporary workers to take the ten-year census in 2010. In fact, it was close to the highest in three decades.
At its board meeting two weeks ago, the Reserve Bank of Australia cut the “cash rate”, the rate it charges to lend to the banks, from 2.5% to 2.25%. They took this step because the evidence was that economic conditions were deteriorating so rapidly that even the risk of a house price boom was preferable to inactivity on the interest rate front and the resulting intensifying economic slowdown.