Global recovery call meets hesitation

The IMF has called a global economic recovery after several countries including Germany and Japan showed 2Q 2009 growth. But market matchers say there is little reason for joy.

Japan grew 0.9 percent in the second quarter. Germany and France made more modest gains – only 0.3% but still in positive territory. GDP growth in these countries prompted the IMF to herald the end of the global recession.

Not all are that optimistic. A world economy pulling away from the depths of recession is one thing, but a strong recovery is another, says Chris Weafer of Uralsib.

“Earlier they talked about prolonged recession, even depression. Now numbers show we’ve pulled back from that. But there is a big difference from pulling back away from worst case scenario and strong recovery. There is no evidence of strong recovery. Consumer spending and consumer confidence are still weak.”

The world economy got a shot in the arm in the form of a $15 trillion stimulus package, but experts say it’s only temporary relief. And, so far, they see no mechanism that might restart the global economy after that stimulus fades out.

And big cash injections pose yet another latent danger – future inflation. So far, in June, inflation in Germany stood at 0.1% while in Japan prices even fell by almost 2%. But despite its relatively modest stimulus package, Russia has suffered 8% inflation. But Nikolay Kashcheev, Head of Research at Sberbank says runaway inflation is the least of Russia’s concerns for the foreseeable future.

“Inflation in Russia has been driven by devaluation. The lack of final demand plays a more crucial role in the inflationary process right now. Inflation remains depressed. Hyper-inflation is out of the agenda for this moment. And for months and quarters to come it’s not the main problem for our economy.”

The central bank expects inflation to be flat in August and says it won’t exceed 11% this year. Demand in Russia is recovering, but very slowly – retail trade grew by 2% in July.