Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
2018 was a tough year for Germany, as Europe’s larget economy was dragged to the brink of recession. 2019 hasn’t started much better.
New figures released this morning show that German industrial output slid, alarming, by 0.8% month-on-month in January. Economists had expected a 0.5% gain.
On an annual basis, output was a chunky 3.3% smaller than in January 2018.
It’s another sign that global trade tensions, the eurozone slowdown and Brexit uncertainty have all hurt demand for German-made products.
Worryingly, the decline was driven by lower demand for heavy-duty machinery and equipment.
Statistics body Destatis says that production of capital goods slumped by 2.5% on the month, while ‘intermediate goods’ production fell by 0.7%.
But consumer goods production rose by 1.5%, suggesting the global slowdown is worrying businesses more than families.
Also coming up today
Brexit looms like a dark cloud over the City, as we enter a crunch week for the UK’s future. With no breakthrough in negotiations with Brussels, MPs are expected to reject Theresa May’s deal tomorrow.
Cue speculation that the PM may not last much longer.
Global investors are still digesting last Friday’s unexpectedly weak US jobs report. It showed just 20,000 new jobs were created last month, down from over 300,000 in January. It may be a blip, or a warning sign that growth is slowing.
Today we get US retail sales figures, which should shed fresh light on the situation. Economists predict spending dipped by 0.1% in January, after a 1.2% slide in December.
In the UK, professor Jonathan Haskel is speaking at the University of Birmingham. He’s the newest member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, so could talk about interest rate moves, and the state of the economy.
European markets are expected to open higher:
- 12.30pm GMT: US retail sales figures for January
- 1pm GMT: Bank of England policymaker Jonathan Haskel speaks at Birmingham University