Economic bellwether Caterpillar provided some succinct commentary on the global economy which pretty much summarize the current state of affairs:
“What’s happening in our business and in the economy overall is a mixed picture. Conditions in the world economy seem relatively stable, and we continue to expect slow growth in 2013,” said Oberhelman.
“As we began 2013, we were concerned about economic growth in the United States and China and are pleased with the relative stability we have seen so far this year. In the United States, we are encouraged by progress so far and are becoming more optimistic on the housing sector in particular. In China, first quarter economic growth was slightly less than many expected, but in our view, remains consistent with slow growth in the world economy. In fact, our sales in China were higher in the first quarter of 2013 than they were in the first quarter of 2012, and machine inventories in China have declined substantially from a year ago,” said Oberhelman.
We are beginning to see increasingly divergent growth in the world’s economies. Europe remains weak, China appears to be weakening and the USA is muddling through. Within Europe the growth is even more divergent with the periphery and core nations now living in totally different types of economic environments. It all appears to be a mix of a post-bubble era, lots of bad policy and an environment that still feels pretty weak to many people, but doesn’t qualify as a recession because of the slightly positive overall picture.