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Economy in Brief

IP Trends Ramp Lower Across Zone
by Robert Brusca  April 11, 2012

Industrial production is slowing on a broad front across the Euro-Area. In February five of seven bellwether Euro-Area or EU nations had declines in their production indices over three-months; the best of their performance is flat. For the quarter to date only Spain with well-known volatile moves is stronger on balance.

The chart tells a clear story of steady decline. The year-over-year growth rate for industrial output for Germany, France, and Spain is clearly on a downward path. Only Germany with a Yr/Yr increase of 0.9% is up on the year. The same is true for the broader sample of countries in the table.

EMU is clearly on a weakening trend. There is no evidence that it has abated and at the same time there are new concerns about debt problems in the Euro-Area.

The silver lining in this ugly cloud is that the 3-month annualized rates of growth are generally smaller than the six-month rates. That says that the deterioration while still in place is not accelerating and actually has tapered off a bit. But it is small grounds for hope. There is literally no source of stimulus in the Euro-Area. The ECB is running an accommodative policy aimed at assisting the indebted. Fiscal austerity is the rule of the day across the Zone. There is no stimulus and momentum, as you can see is clearly negative. Meanwhile, new strains are emerging.

Selected Euro-Area Countries and UK IP in MFG
  Mo/Mo 3Mo 6Mo 12Mo Feb'12
MFG Only Feb'12 Jan'12 Dec'11 Feb'12 Feb'12 Feb'12 r:2-Date
Germany: MFG -0.3% 1.0% -1.9% -4.8% -6.7% 0.9% -2.7%
France 0.3% 0.2% -1.5% -3.8% -3.8% -1.9% -1.3%
Spain -3.8% 2.8% 1.1% 0.0% -7.6% -6.8% 6.3%
Ireland -3.2% 0.8% 2.5% 0.0% -19.9% -3.1% -0.5%
Greece -2.7% 3.5% -2.3% -6.2% -8.6% -8.0% 0.0%
Porttugal 0.8% 0.1% -1.4% -1.8% -16.5% -6.8% 0.0%
UK: MFG -1.0% -0.3% 1.2% -0.8% -2.5% -1.5% -0.5%
Mo/Mo are simple percent changes others are at SAARs; IP X-construction unless noted
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