Each month, ZEW surveys analysts to gauge how they’re feeling about economic growth around the world, both for the current period and going forward. We spend far too much time looking at global data to try and paint a sanguine picture about the state of the global economy, but some of the negativity is starting to get ridiculous. Today’s ZEW analyst survey saw very weak readings in both expected growth and current activity across a range of economies; of the two flavors (current and expected growth) across 7 major economies, only one (Japanese current growth) rose from July data to August data. All are down substantially year-over-year. UK growth expectations are at a record low!

In the table below we show expectations and current growth assessments by country, including the date the last time the gauge was as low as current. As shown, things are getting pretty ridiculous in some cases; UK expectations are one example and US expectations another. Start a two-week free trial to Bespoke Institutional to access The Closer and the rest of Bespoke’s suite of Institutional products.

The last time the ZEW series for US growth was this weak was back in October of 2008. It’s easy to forget just how grim things were at that point, so in the table below we re-visit some notable headlines from the WSJ each day of October, 2008. Compare and contrast that series of headlines to recent ones. To be sure, recent news from around the world has been disappointing for investors. But to put it in the same category as the headlines we’ve highlighted in red, which document the near-destruction of global financial markets and the worst collapse in economic activity since the Great Depression, is patently absurd. The ZEW surveys are indicative of an excessively bearish level of sentiment that is both understandable and a contrary signal for global growth, in our view.

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