China’s manufacturing sector has experienced a drop for the first time in three years, largely because of lower export demand from both Europe and the US.
This has prompted a monetary stimulus policy in China, and–at the same time–many banks internationally are providing stimulus as well, propping-up stock markets everywhere.
The emergency move by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the central banks of Japan, Britain, Canada and Switzerland recalled coordinated action to stabilize global markets in the 2008 financial crisis after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
In Italy, now the focal point of the euro debt crisis, the Treasury started emergency cash tenders for banks which have been squeezed particularly hard as Rome’s borrowing costs have soared towards 8 percent, a level seen as unaffordable in the long term.
The euro and European shares surged on the central bank action, which came after euro zone finance ministers agreed to ramp up the firepower of their bailout fund but acknowledged they may have to turn to the International Monetary Fund for more help.
These actions will lower the cost of borrowing, and that will be welcome both by deficit spending governments and industry, but for long-term help, there must also be a willingness to borrow and spend.
There may be a factor here that is not being given enough attention. We are in a world where we have experienced a great deal of new investment and consumer spending on personal computers, mobile phones, and the growth of new industries spawned by those technologies. It is natural that at the tail-end of those developments we will witness less investment spending and a slow-down in consumption.