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HomeWorld NewsUK economy in technical recession, the Japanese economy struggles

UK economy in technical recession, the Japanese economy struggles

US markets still lead the charge, recession looming over other G7 members as well

UK in technical recession. G7 weak. Global stocks mixed. US strong. Japan tech boosts. Rates, currencies fluctuate. Outlook mixed.

UK Economy In Technical Recession

The United Kingdom finds itself in a mild recession, with GDP declining by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2023, following a 0.1% drop in the previous quarter. This downturn fulfills the technical definition of a recession, with two consecutive quarters of contraction. Despite a 0.1% growth over the year as a whole, this marks the slowest expansion since 2009, excluding pandemic-related impacts.

The Bank of England’s efforts to combat inflation have contributed to the economic slowdown, with interest rate hikes taking their toll. Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt attributes the low growth to the BOE’s actions, while pointing out positive indicators such as low unemployment and rising wages.

Some G7 Economies Show Recession Potential

The UK’s recession is part of a broader trend of economic weakness among G7 nations. Japan unexpectedly enters a recession, surrendering its position as the world’s third-largest economy to Germany. The German economy also faces challenges, with the Bundesbank president hinting at a potential recession in the first quarter of the year.

In the UK, economic challenges are exacerbated by a stagnant GDP per capita, which has shown no growth for seven consecutive quarters, reflecting underlying issues beyond population growth.

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Global Stock Markets React to UK recession

Despite economic headwinds, global stock markets exhibit mixed reactions. European and Asian markets experience gains, with shares rising in most major markets. In the UK, the FTSE 100 rises marginally by 0.2% to 7,585.16, while Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 see more substantial increases, advancing by 0.6% and 0.9% respectively. The futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 0.2% higher, indicating a positive start for US markets.

In contrast, US markets show resilience, rebounding from previous losses. The S&P 500 recovers almost 1%, reclaiming the 5,000-point milestone. Small-cap stocks, particularly impacted by interest rate concerns, bounce back strongly, with the Russell 2000 surging by nearly 2.5%.

Japan’s Tech Sector Fuels Market Growth

Japan’s economy faces challenges, but its stock market experiences growth, buoyed by a thriving technology sector. Chipmaking giant Nvidia’s market cap surpasses Alphabet’s, reaching America’s third most valuable firm behind Apple a Microsoft. The Nikkei 225 reaches a 34-year peak, closing at 38,157.94, driven by optimism around chip production and artificial intelligence.

US Economic Resilience

The US economy stands out amidst global economic uncertainties, maintaining its robust performance. Wall Street stocks rally following a brief dip triggered by inflation concerns. The S&P 500 surpasses previous records, closing at 5,000 points, with individual tech companies like Lyft and Uber posting significant gains. Lyft’s stock surges by 35.1% after its earnings report beats estimates.

Interest Rate Speculation and Currency Markets

Speculation around interest rates remains a key factor influencing global markets. While the US Federal Reserve hints at potential rate cuts, the European Central Bank adopts a more cautious approach. This divergence affects currency markets, with fluctuations observed in the yen and sterling. The U.S. dollar slips to 150.09 Japanese yen from 150.46 yen, while the euro rises to $1.0731 from $1.0727.

Outlook and Key Economic Indicators

Despite short-term challenges, the outlook for global economies remains mixed. Economic indicators such as retail sales, industrial production, and housing market data will provide further insights into future trends. Central bank policymakers’ speeches and corporate earnings reports will also shape market sentiment in the coming days.

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