Investors will get further indicators of the health of the global economy, this week, as more countries roll out quarterly growth numbers.
On Monday, data showed Japan's economy contracted a less-than-expected 0.3 percent in the second quarter from the previous one, as output and exports recovered from the March disaster. The outlook however is murky, as the yen strengthens and uncertainty in the global economy persists. Last week, the government cut its growth forecast for the current fiscal year to 0.5 percent from 1.5 percent to reflect the slump in factory output following the March earthquake.
Germany follows with its numbers on Tuesday.
The data comes at a precarious time for the markets, when worries about a slowdown in the U.S. and EU are already plagueing investors. On Friday, France reported zero growth for the April to June quarter versus the previous quarter as houshold consumption dropped.
There has been increased chatter in recent weeks that another global recession is in the offing. Those fears sent global equities into a rout last week, with unprecedented swings seen in the Dow. If we were to go by the International Monetary Fund's definition of one - global growth of less than 3 percent is equivalent to a recession - we may not be too far off from one.
But unlike the last slump in 2008-2009, the world's major central banks don't have much ammunition left with interest rates in several developed countries already at rock-bottom levels. There's also little appetite for further quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Last week,Ben Bernanke said rates would stay near zero till mid-2013 as the economy was weaker than expected, but he didn't announce any major stimulus measures.
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