Global slump alert as world money contracts

Monday, June 4, 2012
By Paul Martin

Growth of the world money supply has dropped to the lowest level since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, heralding a severe economic slowdown later this year unless authorites rapidly take action.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
04 Jun 2012

The latest data show that the real M1 money supply – cash and overnight deposits – for China, the eurozone, Britain and the US has been contracting since the early Spring. Any further falls risk a full-blown global recession.

Clear signs of trouble are emerging in the US, until now the last bastion of strength. The New York Institute of Supply Management said its ISM business index – a proxy for business demand – flashed a “screeching halt” in May, crashing to 49.9 from 61.2 in April, where anything below 50 denotes contraction. Unemployment is rising again after grim jobs data for April and May, indicating that the economy may have fallen below stall speed.

Central bank governors and finance ministers from the G7 bloc are to hold an emergency teleconference call on Tuesday to grapple with Europe’s escalating crisis. There is mounting anger in North America and Asia over the failure of the Europeans to use their vast resources to contain the brushfire in Spain.

The world money data collected by Simon Ward at Henderson Global Investors show that real M1 for the G7 economies and leading E7 emerging powers peaked at 5.1pc in November and has since plunged to 1.6pc in April. The data explain why commodity prices are falling hard, with Brent crude down to a 16-month low of under $97 a barrel.

China’s money data are falling at the fastest pace since records began. The gauge – six-month real M1 – gives advance warning of economic output half a year ahead. “Europe needs to start quantitative easing [QE] immediately and China must ease policy,” said Mr Ward.

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