The UK’s economy shrank a little more than expected in the first quarter – the 2.2 per cent plunge was the joint worst since 1979. Of course, it will be dwarfed by the Q2 drop, with April already printing 20 per cent lower. Meanwhile China’s PMI data showed a slight improvement and Japan’s industrial production plunged over 8 per cent. Does any of this tell us much as investors and traders? In normal times, yes of course, as it might make a difference of a few points on the margins, but in the time of coronavirus there is an awful lot of noise around the data which makes it a lot more challenging, as well as of course all the stimulus, which muffles the notes that the data is trying to sound. Boris Johnson will launch an FDR-like New Deal infrastructure package today to distract us from the harsh reality of rising unemployment and ongoing restrictions on our liberties.
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