The government has drawn attention to the slowing German economy, recession ridden Italy, and the lack of upwards momentum in the French economy. Japan has also now suffered two more quarters of declines in output and incomes, so is back in recession. None of this helps the UK recovery, as that means bad news from some of our export markets.
I have been asked if the world is about to move back into recession. I think that unlikely. The US economy is still working well, with a large boost to output from shale gas and oil, a boost to industrial output from cheap energy, and leadership in internet and communications technologies. India is improving under the leadership of Mr Modi, and China is still growing quickly by world standards despite all the talk of the end of the Chinese growth miracle, and some slowing of the rate.
When I asked the Prime Minister yesterday about the need for us to pursue more plentiful supplies of cheaper energy to relieve the pressure on our industry, he confirmed that the government is keen to get on with finding and extracting the shale gas that is thought to lie under the surface in several parts of the UK.
He also expressed the view that monetary experiments in the UK and US had helped fuel the recoveries, and that the European Central Bank needed to do more to help Euroland. Without new policy initiatives in the Euro area, and without further stimulus in Japan the world economy will slow a bit, but will still be growing.
It seems likely that Japan will cancel or delay the proposed additional tax rise, and is now embarking on additional monetary stimulus. Mr Abe is determined to see growth return as soon as possible.