Economic Pain Abroad

The Wall Street Journal reports that as bad as the economy has been in the U.S., it’s been truly calamitous elsewhere.

On Wednesday, Mexico became the latest country to report a plunge in output. The country’s gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 21.5% in the first quarter, the worst performance since the 1995 peso crisis led to an International Monetary Fund and U.S. Treasury financial rescue. This time, Mexico has insulated itself somewhat by arranging a $47 billion IMF credit line in advance.

Mexico’s decline followed by a day Japan’s report that its economy contracted in the first quarter at a 15.2% clip, its worst performance since 1955. Last week, Germany said its first quarter decline in GDP, an annualized 14.4%, was the worst since 1970.

The article notes these countries rely on U.S. exports, I wonder if part of the disparity between the U.S. and others results from weak to piddling efforts to shore up spending gaps with fiscal stimulus. The Germans haven’t done much, the Mexicans have done very little, and though Japan recently pledged more, it’s still fairly small in terms of  what we’ve done in the U.S. Meanwhile fiscal stimulus heavy China saw growth of 6.1 percent in the first quarter (though this is sluggish by Chinese standards).


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