New data reinforce the idea that economic growth is slowing in Europe. Today's data have bolstered the value of the dollar, which has gained about 0.8% against the Euro, and the rally has contributed to a big drop in gold.
Purchasing manager surveys were released in France, Germany, and for the Euro-wide area. In France, its purchasing manager index for manufacturing activity fell to 49.2 in June from 51.5 in May, 1.8 points lower than expected. Germany's manufacturing index was nine-tenths of a point below expectations, at 52.3. For the Euro-area, the manufacturing index fell to 49.1 from 50.6, which was 1.1 points below the consensus forecast. It is the first dip below 50.0.
There is also chatter in the markets about the possibility of foreign exchange intervention, although this sort of thing can't be hidden. In other words, if it were happening it would be known to all in the market very quickly. The U.S. has not intervened in the foreign exchange market in about eight years. I have recently advocated such, as a way of giving new sails to the dollar, which in combination with increased oil output could have acted as a catalyst to a drop in commodity prices.
The G-8 missed a chance to act boldly last weekend, although it will get another chance July 7-9 in Hokkaido, Japan when the G-7 meeting will include both finance ministers and central bankers.
More: Click for Latest Economic coverage ...