Friday, August 29, 2014

29/8/2014: Eurocoin Signals Further Slowdown in Growth in August

August the €-coin - a lead growth indicator for euro area GDP - fell to 0.19 from 0.27 in July, continuing the trend that began last spring.

Last month Eurocoin coverage is here:

Per CEPR and Banca d'Italia release, "The decline of the indicator reflects the weakening of economic activity in the second quarter and the recent worsening of consumer and business confidence, although the flattening of the interest rate curve made a slightly positive contribution."

This comes as further bad news for the euro area that has been posting some pretty awful macro data for some months now.

Eurocoin latest decline is marks the fourth consecutive month of no growth in the indicator. The stock market performance component of the indicator is holding it above the zero line, but August reading is no longer statistically distinguishable from zero growth. Once stock markets effects fizzle out, there will be little left to support indicator.

In Q1 2014, the eurocoin indicator averaged 0.35 against actual GDP growth coming at 0.2%, in Q2 2014, the indicator averaged 0.34 and actual growth came in at 0.0%. So far in Q3 2014 we have two months-average of 0.23, suggesting that factoring out stock and bonds markets / interest rates performance from the indicator we have negative growth closer to -0.05-0.1%.

Bond markets are currently out of touch with reality. Take Italian auction this week. EUR2.5 billion of 2019 BTPs sold at a yield of 1.1% - down from 1.2% in July 30 auction, EUR4 billion worth of 2024 BTPs sold at 2.39%. This has nothing to do with the country fundamentals that are all flashing red. Italian unemployment is now up 0.3% m/m to 12.6% in July with youth unemployment down 0.8% on June at a massive 42.9%. Retail sales fell 0.1% in June, compared to May, for non-food items and Q2 average was down 0.2% on Q1 average. Business confidence is tanking, having fallen from 90.8 in July to 88.2 in August. Inflation is (flash estimate for August) at -0.2% m/m and y/y, worse than -0.1% consensus expectations. And so on...

Inflationary signals are also weak: August data we have so far shows German inflation at 0.8%, Spanish at -0.5%, Belgian at 0% and Slovenian at 0%. Update: Euro area flash estimate for inflation is now down to 0.3% from 0.4% in August weighted down by energy costs and food.

Some charts to illustrate the Eurocoin performance:

You can see the weakening growth trend in the above, incorporating the latest growth forecast for Q3 2014. This puts even more pressure on the eCB which has already used up all conventional (rates policy) tools without much of a positive effect on growth:

And to remind you all - euro area growth record is abysmal to begin with, even with 'good years' factored in:

No comments: