At the end of 2014, the U.S. was the only bright spot among the world’s major economies. Chinese growth was slowing, Europe was flirting with deflation, and Japan was crawling out of recession. But last year’s standout economy has fared much worse in 2015. Revised figures show that US GDP shrank 0.7 percent in the first quarter.
It was another day of ugly overnight macro data, all of it ouf of China, with industrial production (8.6%, Exp. 9.5%, Last 9.7%), retail sales (11.8%, Exp. 13.5%, Last 13.1%) and fixed asset investment (17.9% YTD vs 19.4% expected) all missing badly and confirming that in a world of deleveraging, the Chinese economy will continue to sputter.
To understand why the retail sector will continue to be such an investment minefield consider just two phrases: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The latter, the mock tradition of buying stuff online when the boss isn’t watching on the Monday after Thanksgiving, is emblematic of the forces challenging a retail industry much of which was built for a U.S-centered cars, parking lots and box store paradigm which makes less and less sense every day.
BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese industrial production weakened sharply in April as investment slowed to its lowest level in nearly a decade, showing an economy that is surprisingly vulnerable to a global slowdown and a credit crunch at home. Industrial production rose by 9.3 percent in April, the lowest level since May 2009, while retail sales surprised the market by slowing to a 14.1 percent rise, the lowest level in 14 months. Fixed asset investment rose by 20.2 in the first four months of the year, the slowest level since December 2002. "It's obviously much weaker than anyone had expected. 9.