25 Aug 2020 12:05 IST

Europe embarking on a patchy recovery

Service sector and manufacturing hard-hit by the pandemic, loss of jobs, and low consumption levels

The European economy is embarking on a patchy recovery. Purchasing managers’ surveys from Germany and France were weaker than expected in August, data showed. And while the comparable UK Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to its highest level in nearly seven years, jobs were cut at a faster pace across services and manufacturing.

The fragile recovery and grim outlook for employment bodes ill for consumption. True, UK retail sales volumes jumped in July to surpass pre-pandemic levels, official data showed. But the figures were flattered by the performance of supermarkets and other food shops, given that clothing sales remained nearly 26 per cent lower than in February.

European governments will need to spend more to help hard-hit sectors and those joining dole queues. British debt has topped two trillion pounds for the first time and will reach new highs in the coming year. It won’t be the only country to break such records.