The Old World appears to be on the cusp of new economic growth after reports that French and German gross domestic products grew 0.3 percent in the second quarter of 2009. The Economist writes that consumer spending (aided by government programs) and exports (especially to China) led the way out of negative GDP territory. A debate broke out over the good news about whether this is another sign the recession is over and whether the U.S. will grow next.
Good News Comes in Small Packages The Economist notes that German GDP is still 6 percent off its 2008 beginning and France is 3.4 percent off from the same period, so the tepid growth is hardly the end of misery. "Worrying about how strong recovery will be is preferable to worrying about whether recovery will ever start." Matt Yglesias writes about the "psychological power of zero" that makes otherwise small GDP growth look very large. For example, the difference between 2.9 and 3.3 percent is the same as that between zero and 0.4 percent, but the latter simply sounds bigger than the former.
Douglas McIntyre of 24/7 Wall St. writes "Happy days are here again" as the countries beat the expectation that the recession in Europe would stretch through '09 and supports the idea of economists that a "V" shaped recession-recovery will take place. The U.S. will benefit from exports to Europe as demand there increases (the Euro zone GDP shrank 0.1 percent).
This is Lipstick on a Pig "The reality is that recessions can have positive GDP within them," Barry Ritholtz writes, showing positive quarters of growth followed by negative ones during the 2001 recession.
CreditWritedowns Edward Harrison believes the structural problems will hamper growth to come. "As I see it, any recovery now will be somewhat incomplete given high consumer debt levels and the associated weak consumer demand," he wrote, adding that banks are systemically weak.