Europe, Middle East and Africa
The German economy grew much more slowly than expected in recent months, according to recently released data. In fact, the government said that the nation’s economy grew slower than in the past six years, as noted by Bloomberg.
“The statistics office estimates that output registered a small increase in the final three months of 2019, a year that saw growth of just 0.6%. That’s the slowest in six years, amid trade tensions and a broader slowdown in demand that added to fundamental structural challenges the country is battling,” according to the publication.
However, there is some good news for the region: the country did post some GDP gains at the end of 2019, which illustrate that there could be more economy growth in the coming months. “The small increase in GDP at the tail end of 2019 may reinforce hopes that the economy is through the worst of the slump. It also means less chance the government will cave to calls that it provide more fiscal support for the economy,” as noted by Bloomberg.
“After a dynamic start to the year, and a decline in the second quarter, there were signs of a slight recovery in the second half,” said Albert Braakmann, head of the statistics office’s department that compiles GDP, in an interview with the news publication.
After months of struggles, Japan’s economy appears to be doing better, according to recent government data. As noted by Reuters, “Japan’s core machinery orders posted record monthly growth in November, in a bright sign for business spending which has helped sustain a fragile recovery in the world’s third-largest economy.”
In fact, the Cabinet Office found that orders of machinery rose 18.0% in November from the previous month. “That marked the biggest month-on-month gain since comparable data became available in 2005, and also was the first rise since June,” according to the publication.
“The surge in ‘core’ machinery orders in November was largely due to a spike in transport (and) postal activities and we still expect non-residential investment to fall this year,” said Tom Learmouth, Japan economist at Capital Economics, in an interview with Reuters.
In the U.S., the Senate approved the North American trade pact, which marked a bipartisan win for President Donald Trump. “The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, passed by a vote of 89-10. The trade pact, signed by the president in November 2018, received a similar bipartisan vote in the House last month,” according to NPR. “USMCA, which the President successfully negotiated over a year ago, rebalances trade between the three countries and will lead to significant economic and job growth in the United States,” according to a White House statement.
“The USMCA is meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, negotiated in the 1990s by President George H.W. Bush and pushed through Congress by President Bill Clinton,” according to NPR. Under the deal, U.S. exports to Canada and Mexico are expected to increase by $19.1 billion (5.9 percent) and $14.2 billion (6.7 percent), respectively.