Continental Europe is now in its worst recession since World War 2. GDP fell 2.5% in Q1, following a 1.6% fall in Q4. Germany, often viewed as the ‘motor’ of the eurozone, saw its GDP fall a shocking 3.8% as markets for its export-driven economy dried up.
Central & Eastern Europe were badly hit by the collapse of their markets in W Europe – Slovakia’s GDP was down 11.2%.
Meanwhile, European auto sales fell 12% in April versus 2008. Since New Year, the market is now down 16%. And this was in spite of an 18% rise in German sales, which have been temporarily stimulated by the ‘cash for bangers’ policy (where 1.2 million people have so far each received €2.5k when trading in an old car for a new one).