• French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he would suspend a tax on new investments by companies until Jan. 2010 to help stimulate the economy.
  • Germany’s finance ministry, which hastily approved a €500 billion rescue package for the country’s banking sector last week, said it doesn’t intend to match that with spending aimed propping up the economy, at least for now, because of concerns of deepening the budget deficit.

Britain

–          reported its first economic contraction since 1992.

–          The news that Britain is on the brink of recession contributed to a 5 percent drop on the London stock market. The pound dropped to $1.58, the first time it has dipped below $1.60 in five years.

–          “This figure is worse than we expected, with the slowdown spreading right across the economy,” said Richard Lambert, director general of the Confederation of British Industry. Manufacturing, construction and retail were all hit.

–          “This is the day the recession became real,” said David Cameron, the leader of the opposition Conservative Party. “We will get through this, but we need change to support small businesses; we need change to bring a more balanced economy.”

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