Europe: Some good economic news at the edges


Jason Riddle, co-founder of 'Save Our Savers' lifts a giant papier mache piggy bank outside the Bank of England in London on October 6, 2011. The Bank of England agreed to inject $116 billion into the British economy on Oct. 6, 2011.


Adrian Dennis

It's not all doom and gloom:

1. The UK's trade deficit has unexpectedly narrowed according to data released today. Figures for August showed the deficit was down to £7.8 ($12.8 billion). Economists had expected that figure to be £8.8.

The reason is partly a new method for computing the trade figures but also a rise in exports of fuel, food and drinks. (It can't be the beer that is selling so well overseas.  Presumably Scotch is being exported in large quantities to the continent. Despite the euro zone crisis, the single currency has gained value against the pound. So a bottle of whiskey is nowhere near as expensive as it was a few years ago.  I suppose people on the continent need a stiff drink to help them cope with the Greek situation and their overall economic slowdown.)

2. The Economist Intelligence Unit published a report yesterday noting that Ireland's economy has been assessed favorably by the IMF and European Commission. It is getting its deficit under control and exports are leading the way to a period of growth.

That's the upside.

Downside is unemployment remains stubbornly high: 14.5 percent.

Oh, and for both economies exports to the continent are likely to drop off by the end of the year as the euro zone as a whole skates close to negative growth.

And on another subject:

The authorities in Paris have dropped their investigation into more sexual assault claims against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. You may remember that at the height of the furore surrounding the former IMF chief last spring in New York a young French woman claimed DSK had attempted to rape back in 2003.  Following complex legal argument DSK had admitted a sexual assault ... but the statue of limitations on that charge is up after 3 years.  Rape would have been more serious charge becaue the statute of limitation on rape is 10 years. But the lack of evidence means DSK walks ... although his political career is in ruins.