A European Recession: Will There Be One?

 By: George Leong
If you think we have it bad here, just take a glance at Europe, where investing in stocks has become a chore full of patient and sleepless nights. In Germany, the most significant country in the eurozone, the benchmark DAX is down over 25% since late July. Just in one month! Things do not look promising.

Stock markets across Europe are tanking and, as I have said, Europe is not a place to park your capital based on my global economic analysis.

There was more evidence of an economic downfall in Europe after the European Union's economic sentiment index fell for the sixth straight time. Germany showed the biggest decline. Without a recovery in Germany, the eurozone is in trouble, but we know that.

The reality is that growth around the world is stalling and the fear is that it could worsen and drive another recession or deepen existing recessions in many regions in Europe. And, with the existing debt and deficit issues, it will be hard for the governments to focus on driving growth. The aftermath could be several more years of economic stalling in Europe. This is a big problem, as Europe has over 500 million people and is a major economic zone.

As I recently discussed, we are seeing downward revisions in gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Europe remains a troubled area, as the number of downward revisions to GDP has been picking up.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that GDP in the eurozone will grow 1.9% and 1.4% in 2011 and 2012, respectively, but I wonder if these estimates are achievable, especially if the debt and austerity issues continue to worsen across Europe.

Morgan Stanley cut its global GDP forecast for 2011 and 2012 and added that the U.S. and the Eurozone were "dangerously close to a recession." UBS AG and Citigroup, Inc. cut their forecasts for global and domestic GDP.

Citigroup cut its global GDP forecast to 3.1% for this year from 3.4% and to 3.2% in 2012 from 3.7%.

The cuts are not good, but they are also not unexpected. I expect there could be more trouble areas surfacing in Europe, including Spain and Italy. More bailout funds will be required.

Greece may not be able to dig itself out of its current mess, as the troubled country continues to fight a recession, but is cutting capital spending in order to receive emergency funds. This is not what you want to do in an economy struggling to survive.

And, as we know, you cannot ignore the issues in Europe, as the global economies are so interconnected now that problems across the Atlantic would impact this side of the world.

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