Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Worst Over?

This reckoning is interesting coming from the noted bear:

Recession: glimmers of hope?
The first glimmers of hope are starting to emerge across the world. The pace of economic decline is slowing. Housing sales are picking up, even if prices are falling. Credit markets have begun to thaw.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Last Updated: 8:49PM GMT 04 Feb 2009

This is the time-honoured pattern expected to be seen when the downward spiral burns itself out and the cycle starts, very slowly, to turn, helped this time by an unprecedented global monetary and fiscal blitz. But it may equally be a false dawn.

The Baltic Dry Index measuring freight rates for iron ore and other bulk goods has been creeping up for two months after crashing 94pc in the worst fall in shipping history. Copper prices are also edging up after plunging by two-thirds from their June peak. So are lumber prices.

The debt markets have opened like a flower in spring, at least in one sense. Companies issued $246bn (171bn pounds) in bonds in January, the most since the credit crisis began. France’s EdF has raised 9bn euros (8bn pounds). Shell and RWE each raised 3bn euros this week. Blue-chip groups can borrow again.

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