Recent data provide conflicting signals about the underlying health of the global economy, according to Oxford Economics. On the one hand, it is possible to reach negative conclusions regarding the current economic situation. The stagnation in global activity in the second quarter looks like a significant development (Chart 2). The traditional benchmark for recession at a global level is when GDP growth falls below population growth – which is currently around 0.25 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis. With surveys suggesting that the outlook has continued to soften, energy prices in Europe shooting up and the impact of monetary policy tightening only now beginning to feed through to real activity, a pick-up in GDP growth in the third quarter to 0.25 percent or more to avoid a recession might seem like quite a tall order.