How is Europe really doing? This year there has been non-cyclical noise and special factors affecting the growth story. French strikes and problems with the auto sector have clouded the Euro growth picture. However, the underlying trends seem to be OK.
There is a spate of data from Europe today. Unemployment is expected to hold steady, around the lowest levels since 2009. Inflation is expected to remain above the magic 2% number that the ECB focuses on. German retail sales should give a sense of consumer enthusiasm.
Spanish GDP should show respectable growth. French data already showed an acceleration in growth. Of course Italy is Italy, and the auto sector problems are likely to keep German growth around zero. But taking a step back shows an OK picture.
Away from Europe the UK BRC shop price index fell. Falling BRC shop prices are quite normal, but the price competition helps to explain why many in the UK regard the EU-UK divorce with more boredom than alarm. The US employment cost index data may be worth a second glance as companies start to complain about costs in a tightening labor market. The Chinese PMI business sentiment index is not worth a second glance.