The German economy expanded 0.6% in 2019, the weakest expansion rate since 2013 and a marked cooling from the previous year, as export-dependent manufacturers in Europe’s largest economy faced increased headwinds from trade disputes and less foreign demand.
Putting aside angels-on-a-pinhead arguments about the actual year in which a decade expires and a new one commences — is it January 1, 2020, or 12 months on in 2021 and, anyway, who really cares? — what we hope will be the peace and quiet of St Stephen’s Day brings an opportunity to reflect not only on the country’s 2019 but also on aspects of the Dáil’s less-than-adequate performance since 2010.
When I started working in the world of economics many moons ago, there was a cliched-term often used in popular discourse called ‘Eurosclerosis’. It was a term coined to describe and capture the anaemic growth that had characterised Europe for years.
No capitalist economy has yet organised for itself arrangements that ensure labour market wages are perceived universally as fair; as day follows night, there will always be a class of workers convinced that their pay — or, for the managerial classes, salary — does not reward sufficiently the value of their labour, and that another group is laughing all the way to the bank clutching needlessly generous remuneration packages.
The ECB is in the spotlight ahead of a meeting today as it ponders making significant moves, including a rate cut that would be earlier than expected, following a survey on the dire health of manufacturing across the eurozone.
Even though it’s more than a decade since Bertie Ahern harrumphed his infamous advice — “the boom is getting boomier” — the consequences of the madness epitomised by that phrase, and the “soft landings” and “naysayers” slapdowns too, remain chilling, almost as chilling as the idea that a person in his position could so misjudge reality.
The latest international trade data for Ireland confirm once again that the export sector of the economy remains a very important engine of overall economic growth and it is blatantly obvious that the future health of the export sector is crucial for the overall health and prosperity of the economy.
The US Federal Reserve has held interest rates steady but signalled possible rate cuts of as much as half a percentage point over the remainder of this year, as it responded to increased economic uncertainty and a drop in expected inflation.
Medha Singh and Susan Mathew European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s dovish remarks — signalling that the ECB will ease policy again if inflation fails to accelerate — sent European stocks to six-week highs while news that the US and China would resume trade talks at the G20 summit also boosted sentiment.