There has been further evidence of global economic recovery with new figures for growth from Italy and Japan. The figures follow signs of improvement in other leading economies, notably the United States and several in Europe. This report from Andrew Walker
The world economy has not managed a convincing recovery from what was, by many analysts' reckoning, a global recession in 2001. The following year saw rather better growth, but still below normal. That continued into the first few months of this year, as business was held back by fears about the coming war in Iraq and the pneumonia-like illness, SARS. The war is now over and the spectre of SARS in abeyance. The new figures from Italy and Japan add to a picture of strengthening performance around the world. The United States is leading the improvement, having recorded very strong growth in the third quarter of this year. Germany, France and the Netherlands have started growing again after a period of declining output and British growth has accelerated. In continental Europe, the growth was not particularly strong, but it was growth nonetheless. And there are concerns about the amount of debt that consumers have built up in some countries, notably Britain. There are also some worries that house prices are too high in some countries - Britain again and the United States - and that a fall could cause consumers to cut back spending on goods and services. Nonetheless, the general global economic outlook now looks a good deal more positive than it was earlier in the year.