So Germany confirms its position this morning as Europe’s top economic machine. (Not that any sensible individual doubted this for one moment even during the maelstrom of the last 3 years.) . In the second quarter its GDP zoomed ahead by a remarkable 2.2% There hasn’t been a faster rate of growth than this since reunification back in 1990. Punters worldwide are back in the market for BMWs – which had some cracking sales figures out this week - and Germany’s other high value manufactured goods. And they’ve got a half way decent football team for the first time in years.
But there is far less good news from what those Euro economists term the 'peripheral' nations. Even less charitable individuals insist on referring to them as the PIIGS (Portugal Ireland Italy Greece Spain) Growth in the sty is pitiful.
The Greeks are enduring the agony of major downturn at the moment and face the prospect of a prolonged slump. The Greek statistical service – never the most accurate with its use of the abacus in the first place – reckons that the Greek economy shrunk by 3.5% in the three months to the end of June. The Athens regime hasn’t been helped by the country’s truckers spending weeks manning the barricades. These stats are truly grim because the second half of the Greek year – when few wish to stretch out on a rainy beach in Mykonos – is normally much quieter when it comes to collecting other people’s Euros to fill the hard pressed Finance Ministry’s coffers. [CONTINUES]
In today's bulletin:
Unite consents to BAA peace talks
Barclays rebels against lending targets
Editor's blog: Two-speed Europe gets into gear
Are women more responsible entrepreneurs?
The Parent Project: Going on maternity leave