WHEN do individual pieces of data become a trend? In the past few days, we have seen a surprise 1.3% monthly slump in British factory output, a 1.8% decline in German industrial production, a 1.7% decline in France, and a 1.2% drop in Italy. No one can blame the weather for these numbers, as they did for first-quarter US GDP.
European stocks have been weaker, although a cumulative 2.6% drop is hardly a sign of panic.
That is from Buttonwood. The Espirito Santo debt problem in Portugal is probably not a major event in its own terms, but slotted into this overall picture it is worrying nonetheless. Is this what the end of QE looks like? Or is this turn in events caused by something else?