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By Tom Branna, Editorial Director



Published August 1, 2012
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Someday, believe it or not, we all may look back warmly on The Great Recession of 2007-2009. Of course, there are a lot of consumers out there who are convinced that the recession never really ended. Well, buckle your seat belts, more trouble, a lot of it, may be on the horizon. That’s because the euro crisis is moving the global economy closer to the brink of depression, according to analysts.
Greece, according to its prime minister, has already tumbled into a depression. In late July, yields on Spanish bonds rose to 7.6%, an unmanageable level, according to financial experts. And fears are that Italy will be next to fall.

At press time, however, the markets and some observers were calmed when the European Central Bank said it would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro zone. Those words, uttered by ECB president Mario Draghi, assuaged markets so much so that Spain’s borrowing costs fell to 6.8%, while Italy’s dropped just below 6%. Clearly, a lot of folks expect the ECB to back both countries’ debt, which would enable banks to start lending again.

But more work, much more work, needs to be done. For one thing, no one has any idea what Draghi will actually do to preserve the euro. Furthermore, rates would have to fall below 5% to revive confidence in the euro. While the world watches events unfold in Europe, some pundits are convinced that more bad news, in places like Asia and the US, too, is right around the corner.

With so much uncertainty out there, it is amazing how resilient the global household and personal products has been in recent months. Global companies such as Unilever and L’Oréal continue to post stellar results. To read more of these and other success stories, be sure to read The International Top 30, our annual look at the leading household and personal products companies with headquarters outside the US.

Also this month, we report on the high-flying color cosmetics market and the latest trends in fine fragrance packaging.


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