Blog: Dean BestSo, where exactly is still in recession?

Dean Best | 23 October 2009

Today's (23 October) headlines in the UK are all about our "record" recession.

The figures for the third quarter of 2009 show that that the UK economy contracted by 0.4% between July and September - meaning we have now posted six consecutive quarters of falling GDP.

Or, in other words, the longest consecutive fall since the UK started recording the data in 1955.

After this week's news that growth in China's economy accelerated in the third quarter and, as we highlighted on our pages this week, amid the continuing gloom over Russia's economy, it got us thinking: who is in (and out of recession)?

Fortunately, the UK's Daily Telegraph must have been thinking along similar lines and this morning published a story on the recent performance of the world's other major economies.

If you think we had it bad, look at the figures the Telegraph quotes for Spain. Unemployment there is running at 18% and the Spanish economy is set to remain gloomy well into 2010.

Naturally, food manufacturers in Spain could reasonably expect to be among the more resilient businesses in the country.

However, some have either cut (or are rumoured to be cutting) their operations down there.

Sara Lee has scaled back its bakery business in Spain, while the signs are that the US food group is less than enamoured with its international bakery operations full stop.

There have been rumours that French retail group Les Mousquetaires, the company behind the Intermarché chain is looking to quit the Spanish market. Nothing has been officially announced but a spokesperson told us over the summer that that the retailer's president had ordered the company to keep quiet.

And further more, Spanish food group Ebro Puleva saw its revenues slide during the first half of the year.

As a BMI report on the outlook for the Spanish food and drink sector says: "The market will therefore continue to be a very difficult place to do business for major brand builders such as Sara Lee, and BMI expects such firms to continue to look for ways to cut costs and create efficiencies so as to maximise their chances of maintaining sales in what is now a highly price-sensitive environment."


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