Outlook If you want proof of the interconnectedness of the global economy, the speed with which disappointing manufacturing figures flashed up around the world yesterday provided it in spades. Britain's dismal purchasing managers survey came halfway through the cycle – it was preceded by nervous numbers from China and particularly the eurozone, and followed by downbeat data from the US. In a world fearful about the outlook for the next year, exports are shrinking everywhere one turns and the circle is becoming vicious for manufacturers.
The figures should also serve as a rebuke to those jingoistic types who declare the eurozone's travails are nothing to do with us and that British taxpayers ought not to contribute towards the cost of rescue packages, even in the form of loans. The truth is that the biggest single challenge to British manufacturers is the diminishing demand from struggling economies elsewhere – particularly the eurozone, our most important trading partner. The cost to British taxpayers of not resolving the crisis in the single currency bloc will be far bigger than playing our part in sorting it out.