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More than one in three international investors expect a global economic meltdown within the next 12 months, according to a new Bloomberg poll. Far more - almost 70pc - say the world economy is deteriorating, up from just 18pc four months ago.
At the heart of the gloom, of course, is the eurozone, with 90pc of those surveyed judging that the economy of the single currency area is getting worse. One wonders what planet the other 10pc are on.
The eurozone is clearly sliding. The European Commission's economic sentiment indicator fell to 95 in September, from 98.4 the month before, plunging at a rate not seen since the Lehman Brothers collapse. German retail sales dropped faster in August than at any time since May 2007.
The eurozone – an economy second in size only to the US – is on the brink of a double-dip recession.
This grim prognosis, though, is set against a more hideous backdrop – the danger of a "euro-quake". Greece will default. The only question is how the default is managed – indeed, if it is managed at all.
A bungled Greek payment failure will spark "contagion", as spooked creditors pull the plug on some big eurozone government, leading to non-payment of wages and benefits, serious social unrest, and a single currency break-up.
We face the very real prospect of a major economic shock, the negative impact of which will be felt around the world.
"The operational viability of the single currency won't be known until the system is tested by a serious downturn and that moment may come soon," this column warned in December 2007, as the credit crunch began to loom. "The ultimate victim of this sub-prime crisis could be nothing less than the single currency's existence."