Each month, we take the temperature of the global economy through countries’ purchasing managers’ indices. The data reflects industrial activity, and anything above 50 is seen as healthy.
The latest issue on everyone’s minds is geopolitical risk, especially in the Pacific. Here’s how a new note from Société Générale puts it:
NEW GEOPLITICAL RISKS? HOPEFULLY NO.
China’s new airspace defence zone established last week proved the source of renewed tension in the region. US Vice-President Biden kicked off a week-long visit to Asia on Sunday and hope is that this will help alleviate some of the tension. Our concern as economists is that a new round of geopolitical tension in the region could have ramifications on trade at a time where momentum is already slowing in emerging economies.
Meanwhile in Europe, everyone is now wondering whether the region has begun backsliding:
Our euro area growth outlook for 2014 at 0.6% remains below the consensus of 1.0%. Marketing our new Global Economic Outlook released last week, we were asked several times how much push back our euro area view is receiving. The answer is significantly less now than back in September, when fiscal drift helped boost GDP data and hope was that financial fragmentation would see fast track repair. Rather, we sense concerns shifting again to the downside and what the ECB could do more. As we discussed in last week’s edition, the ECB has several tools left, but short of a renewed crisis we do not expect to see a big bazooka delivered. Rather, it is likely to be a succession of small and rather less impressive easing 5 steps. The real potential for a game changer lies with governments; but the political process remains too slow to make a real difference near-term.
Here’s the scorecard so far (all times U.S. Eastern Standard Time):
7 p.m. South Korea: HSBC Manufacturing PMI — 50.4, up from 50.2 in October.
8:45 p.m. China: HSBC Manufacturing PMI
9 p.m. Taiwan: HSBC Manufacturing PMI
9 p.m. Vietnam: HSBC Manufacturing PMI
10 p.m. Indonesia: HSBC Manufacturing PMI
12 a.m. India: HSBC Manufacturing PMI
12 a.m. Russia: HSBC Manufacturing PMI