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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Dow's 800-point fall grabbed headlines, but the real warning about the global economy's dire health comes from Europe. The German economy shrank in the second quarter, showing negative growth for the second time in 4 quarters.

Why it matters: Germany is being decimated by the global downturn in manufacturing and trade that has weighed extensively on major exporting countries. The downturn is likely coming for other economies as well, experts say.

  • "Germany is a more export-oriented economy than even China, so in some respects it’s the canary in the coal mine," Milton Ezrati, chief economist at Vested and former economics head at asset manager Lord Abbett, told Axios.
  • "When people say the U.S. economy can’t continue to grow when the world is in recession, what’s happening in Germany is indicative of the fact that the world is in recession," Ezrati said.

The big picture: Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the growth engine of the broader eurozone economy. As such, it was not the only economy to show its suffering Wednesday.

  • The British economy also shrank in the second quarter, as did with Sweden, and the eurozone broadly grew just 0.2%, half its total from the first quarter.
  • China, the world's No. 1 trading nation, also is showing signs of stress. Its industrial output reading for July was the weakest in 17 years, and it reported much weaker-than-expected investment and retail sales numbers.

Be smart: In a global economy, “U.S. economic developments affect the rest of the world, and the reverse is also true,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said last month.

Yes, but: Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, predicts the downturn could be delayed until 2021.

  • “The U.S. economy is clearly weakening and risks are piling up. Capex will inevitably slow further, but under the assumption that the trade war doesn’t escalate further, it will not weaken so much as to tip the U.S. into recession," Shah wrote in a note to clients.
  • "The Fed pivot in early 2019, global central bank easing, China stimulus and the reversal of its deleveraging process will support the global economy," Shah said.

Where it stands: The 2 levers that have saved the economy in previous times of crisis look exhausted.

  • Central bankers have clearly gotten the message and are cutting interest rates at a level not seen since the financial crisis. However, studies show monetary policy is not as powerful as it once was.
  • The world is already deeply in debt and democratic institutions are extremely polarized, making government spending more difficult as well.

Go deeper

New Zealand prime minister announces vaccine mandate for businesses

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during an October COVID-19 briefing in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Robert Kitchin - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses as the government pushes to reach a 90% vaccination target for the country.

Why it matters: Under the new COVID-19 Protection Framework, businesses in close contact with customers must require a vaccine certificate from them. Ardern said at a briefing Tuesday that in order for these venues, which include hair salons, bars, restaurants and gyms, along with events, to operate staff must also be vaccinated.

State Department to set up new cyber bureau to combat hack attacks

Secretary of State Tony Blinken speaks on the challenges during an October conference in Quito, Ecuador. Photo:y Felipe Stanley/Agencia Press South/Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced Monday plans for the State Department to create a new bureau of cyberspace and digital policy.

Why it matters: The establishment of the bureau and plans for a new envoy to oversee critical and emerging technology come after a series significant hack attacks and other online crimes, notably ransomware assaults on U.S. infrastructure.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.