Confirming that in a world in which either commercial or central banks have to be constantly be churning out debt, and in a world in which Europe is doing neither (with European commercial loan growth posting sequential declines across the board, and the ECB's balance sheet still declining although likely not for long), "growth" as defined by conventional standards, is impossible, we got today's European Q1 GDP data. Not only was it bad, but it was even worse than most had expected.
And while Germany may have escaped a technical recession after its economy grew by the absolute minimum possible 0.1 percent in the first quarter (does it too also include intangibles in its GDP calculation one wonders) following a drop in Q4, it was France that officially double dipped into its second recession in four years with a 0.2 percent contraction and one year into Hollande's term. As the Bloomberg Brief chart below shows, Germany and France account for 49 percent of euro-area output. Overall, the euro-area economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the first quarter. The region’s economy has been shrinking since October 2011, the longest recession since the start of monetary union.
Meanwhile, France welcomes the double dip: