While it's pretty much agreed that the global economic situation has been gloomy at best for at least the past year, there are finally rays of light breaking through the grey clouds so prevalent as of late.
Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, and Germany; these are the five economies deemed to have emerged from recession, according to the latest economic growth figures posted for the months of April to June, 2009. All five countries posted economic growth for the quarter, surprising most economic analysts whom commonly expected further recessionary trends to continue on for some time to come. Theses surprising results are a wonderful turn of events for all of us as they show the global recession is beginning to turn around, shying away from becoming a global depression.
So how did these countries emerge from their respective recessions so soon? Each via measures generally unique to their respective economies, yet similar in some instances:
Let's first take a look at Hong Kong's emergence: Posting a 3.3% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) from April to June, this growth has been seen as much better than previously expected, due to improved exportation, and a surprising boost in private consumption. Rising a substantial 4% over the previous quarter, the strength of private consumption in Hong Kong is said to be due primarily to two main factors: An 80% rebound in the Hong Kong stock market from March onwards, and a spike in property prices of 20% for the months leading up to June. Close by, Singapore realized an annualized economic growth spurt of 20.7% for the months of April through June, bringing their nation out of recession just slightly ahead of Hong Kong.
Also in the Asian region, Japan's economy removed itself from the global recession with a 0.9% growth during the second quarter of 2009. Though a small figure in comparison to Hong Kong and Singapore's, Japan's economic growth is no less significant as it breaks a previous contraction of four consecutive quarters. This period of economic growth in Japan is attributed to second quarter growth in exports from Japan, up 6.3% from the quarter previous, as well as the introduction of a government stimulus package worth an estimated $260 Billion dollars. Consisting of both cash outlays and incentive-ized subsides for the purchase of big ticket items such as hybrid cars and energy efficient appliances, Japan's economic plan stimulated consumer spending, while other countries similar plans stimulated Japan's exported goods industries (notably automotive programs such as the United States' Cash for Clunkers initiative,) which in turn spurred further economic growth by encouraging production of newly depleted stock nationwide.
In Europe, the economies of both Germany and France grew by 0.3% in the second quarter of 2009, both also due in large part to strong growth in exports from both nations. German exports showed the most significant growth, at a healthy pace of 7%, due largely to the strong needs and rapid growth of "emerging" economies such as China's. Helping economic growth in Germany was a welcomed up tick in personal and governmental spending as well.
In France, a similar scenario helped pull the French economy out of recession, with strong exports bolstered by higher than expected personal consumption bringing about their economic growth during the second quarter of 2009.
In all, signs are very favorable that the global slowdown is itself beginning to slowly turnaround, as more and more countries bring themselves out of this recessionary period. Only time will tell when a full recovery has been achieved, but if these countries' situations are any indication, a global recovery may be just around the corner.