Europe's Economic Contraction Continues As Core Succumbs To Peripheral Weakness
This morning there was a round of European economic data which showed that regardless of whether Italian and Spanish bonds trade up or down by 100 bps on any given day, the continent remains deeply mired in recession. First we got Dutch June Industrial Production (a AAA country), which slid from -0.3% to -0.6%, on expectations of an increase, then this was repeated with Italian June Industrial Production which also missed estimates printing at at -1.4% in June, a drop from +1.0%, and below the estimate of -1.05%, followed by UK Industrial production which collapsed, IP sliding from 1.0% to -2.5%, the biggest one month drop since November 2008, but modestly better than expectation which is what apparently drove the GBP higher - the market: always the optimist. And then the cherry on top was German factory orders which plunged from 0.7% to -1.7%, missing expectations of a -0.8% print. Completing the sad economic picture was Italian Q2 3GDP which which was essentially unchanged at -0.7% compared to Q1's -0.8%. Goldman was certainly not happy with Italian data: "The recessionary dynamic is likely to mechanically weaken tax revenues this year, creating hurdles for the fiscal consolidation that is otherwise well underway... We believe that the domestic economy - in particular private sector consumption and investment - currently faces strong headwinds (fiscal adjustment, financing conditions) that may end up harming sequential growth dynamics by more than we currently foresee."
More from Goldman's take on Italy's relentless implosion.
BOTTOM-LINE: Italian real GDP growth disappointed in the second quarter, at -0.7%qoq non-annualised (0.1% above BBG consensus, and 0.2% below GS forecast) after an already weak -0.8%qoq in the first quarter. The yoy contraction stood at -2.5%. This creates a very weak base for the 2012 growth figure, and mechanically shifting our expectation of a more significant inflection point from Q3 onwards, the "automatic" adjustment of our forecast yields an expected contraction of real GDP of 2.1% in 2012.
1. Real GDP contracting at a sharp pace since the beginning of the year (Chart). Real GDP contracted by 0.7%qoq in Q2, after -0.8%qoq in Q1, a fourth quarter of negative quarterly growth rates. The Q2 figure was a negative surprise that compounds an already bleak performance in Q1. Looking forward, leading indicators do not point to any significant improvement in Q3.
2. No details on GDP components, but decline likely to be broad based. ISTAT does not publish the details of its first GDP estimate, but stated that activity contracted in agriculture, industry and services. Given past developments, we will pay particular attention to private sector investment, which has declined significantly in Q1 (from -2.6%qoq in 2011Q4 to -3.6%qoq), stuck at around 25% below its 2007 peak.
3. Industrial Production disappointed in June. Released earlier this morning, the June industrial production figure turned out weaker than expected (-1.4%mom sa, -1.7% for Q2 as a whole, and a steep -8.2%yoy sa). The negative dynamics was almost evenly shared across non-energy industrial sectors (consumer, investment and intermediate goods).
4. Italy under close macroeconomic scrutiny over coming quarters. The recessionary dynamic is likely to mechanically weaken tax revenues this year, creating hurdles for the fiscal consolidation that is otherwise well underway. Looking forward, we will be very vigilant about the GDP components when the second GDP estimate is released. We believe that the domestic economy - in particular private sector consumption and investment - currently faces strong headwinds (fiscal adjustment, financing conditions) that may end up harming sequential growth dynamics by more than we currently foresee.