For the past month there has been something of a race between East Asia and Eastern Europe to see which is collapsing faster in the global recession.
Until this week the catastrophic decline in Asia's export trade appeared to make it the more likely candidate. Taiwan's exports fell 42 percent year on year in December, and its economy shrank by almost 7 percent in the fourth quarter last year. South Korea's exports fell by 23 percent. Singapore's non-oil domestic exports contracted 35 percent in January from a year earlier, the government reported.
Japan is in grim shape. Its exports fell 35 percent in December, year on year. Industrial output fell 9.6 percent. The economy is contracting at an annual rate of 12 percent.......China's Ministry of Agriculture estimated this month that 20 million migrant workers from rural areas have lost their jobs, as another 7 million school leavers and new graduates join the workforce. Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered, whose assessments of the Chinese economy have been highly reliable, estimate that China is currently running at close to zero growth.
Europe itself is in trouble. German export orders fells 25 percent year on year in December. French house prices fell 9.9 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, the steepest since data collection began in 1936. Ireland lost 36,500 jobs in January -- equivalent to a monthly loss of 2.3 million jobs in the United States....MORE
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Who falls faster, Europe or Asia?