Economy: Getting better or just less bad?

In much the same way that analysts have been debating whether equities are in a bear market rally or a new bull market, economists now have to deal with the question of whether the global economy is just bottoming out or is now actually recovering. The two things are obviously linked as BlackRock equities chief Bob Doll indicated when he said this week that equity markets will require the economic backdrop to actually improve rather than simply grow less bad if rises are to be sustained.

The less-dreadful-than-feared syndrome has been around for some time. U.S. markets, for example, found themselves cheering the loss of  539,000 jobs in April simply because its was the smallest since October and looked to be an improvement.

But talk of green shoots, a somewhat overused euphemism for the start of economic revival, has also been on the increase: European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet spoke on Monday about the pick-up in GDP evident in certain areas; China said its efforts to boost growth were working; and a lot of institutional investors are acting as if the worst is over.

So, bottoming out or on the way up?  Comments below please.

(Reuters photo: Danish Ishmail)

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