OECD: growth in retreat in advanced economies

Underlining the emergence of a "two-speed" economic world, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said yesterday that the economic recovery lost pace in the OECD area over the autumn. The OECD comprises the world's advanced economies, but not emerging ones such as China.

This stands in stark contrast to growth trends in emerging economies, which have shown growth rates already three times those of America, Europe and Japan.

The OECD's latest review of its 30 members' economies reveals that the OECD area grew by 0.6 per cent in the third quarter of this year, down on the 0.9 per cent recorded over the April to June period. It is the sixth consecutive quarter of growth, but the slack pace suggests a fragile recovery. Partly due to successive sovereign debt crises damaging confidence, the euro area and European Union GDP grew by 0.4 per cent each, down from 1 per cent recorded the previous quarter.

The best-performing economy was again Germany, buoyed by exports of capital goods to China, and a long-overdue return to the shops by the German consumer. At 0.7 per cent, growth in Germany remained "relatively robust", said the OECD, but this was still sharply down on the record 2.3 per cent growth recorded in the previous quarter – an annualised rate of almost 10 per cent. Germany suffered badly from the slowdown in world trade in the recession.

Elsewhere, GDP growth also slowed in France (0.4 per cent), Italy (0.2 per cent) and the United Kingdom (0.8 per cent). The UK's figure is subject to further revision by the Office for National Statistics tomorrow, but no radical move is anticipated. Growth accelerated in Japan (0.9 per cent) and, marginally, in the United States (0.5 per cent).

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