Here Comes The European Recovery

Can’t you just see it?

According to Eurostat in both the euro area (EA16) and the EU27, the seasonally adjusted household saving rate continued to increase and the household investment rate to decrease n the second quarter of 2009. In both regions the fall in business investment rates and profit shares continued, though at a lower rate. In the second quarter of 2009, the seasonally adjusted gross saving rate of households was 14.4% in the EU27 compared with 13.5% in the first quarter of 2009. In the euro area, the household saving rate was 16.5% in the second quarter of 2009, compared with 16.0% in the previous quarter. In both cases these were the highest rates recorded since the start of the time series in the first quarter of 1999.

Can’t you see it now? Maybe you need to squint harder, let’s try this – in the EU27 the gross investment rate of non-financial corporations was 20.8% in the second quarter of 2009, compared with 21.4% in the first quarter of 2009. In the euro area, the investment rate was also 20.8% in the second quarter of 2009, compared with 21.4% in the previous quarter. In both cases (again) these were the lowest rates recorded since the start of the series in the first quarter of 1999.

Still not got it? Savings up and investment down – where’s the demand coming from? Ah, yes, government stimulus. Oh well, hard luck this year, let’s try again in 2010. Or maybe someone, somewhere will finally get it: the name of the game is now (extra community) exports, and the value of the euro is going to matter.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".