The Japanese economy was hit particularly hard by the recession. It relies heavily on exports and most of its crude oil is imported. Overseas demand fell apart and shortly thereafter, oil made its run to $70 per barrel. In what may be a surprise to many economists, however, Japan's GDP grew 0.9 percent in the second quarter, handily outperforming the U.S.
Last week, France and Germany announced that they had begun to rebound from the recession. China's economy grew sharply in the second quarter after what was, by its standards, slow growth in the first three months of the year.
The Japan GDP announcement, put into context with the comparable numbers from other nations, begins to paint a pattern of a global economy that is doing better than expected. If the trend continues into the current quarter and activity gets even more robust in the last three months of the year, 2010 improvement could be beyond the hopes of most economists.
Very few experts believed that there was much pent-up consumer demand in any developed nation. Unemployment was too high and consumer credit too unbearable. Now it appears that consumers either had more savings than expected or feel that their jobs are not at risk as much as they had previously believed.
No matter the cause, the global economy has begun what appears to be a "V"-shaped recovery that could blossom fully by the end of the year.
Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.