Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Concerns over the health of the German economy are mounting this morning, after Europe’s largest economy suffered another big fall in manufacturing orders.
Germany factory orders plunged by 1.6% in December, new figures released this morning show, due to weak demand from overseas.
That’s much worse than the 0.3% rise which economists had expected, and follows a 0.2% decline in November.
On an annual basis, orders were a chunky 7% lower than in December 2017. That looks to be the biggest drop since 2012.
Such a weak result showing that Germany’s industrial base is struggling in the face of trade tensions, slowing global growth, and Brexit anxiety.
Germany’s car industry has also had a bad few months. They’ve struggled to get models tested and onto the road following the introduction of new, tougher, pollution rules.
We already know that German GDP shrank by 0.2% in July to September; some economists fear its economy may have kept shrinking, putting the country into recession.
More reaction to follow….
Also coming up today
European stock markets are tipped to open flat, after a strong rally on Tuesday that saw the FTSE 100 jump by 2% to a new three-month high.
Britain’s Competitions and Markets Authority is enforcing a clampdown on some of the biggest online hotel booking sites – calling it “a victory for UK holidaymakers”. More on that shortly.
Struggling outsourcing group Interserve has announced a whopping debt-for-equity swap rescue deal.
Plus we should get new US trade figures, and the weekly oil inventory stats, which should give another insight into the state of America’s economy
- 1.30pm GMT: US trade figure for November
- 3.30pm GMT: US weekly oil inventory figures