Recent developments: Activity and sentiment improved in early 2012
The first 4 months of 2012 started off relatively well. Greece successfully completed a major debt restructuring, and tensions in financial markets eased. Responding to a loosening of monetary policy in developing countries, and a significant improvement in sentiment, the pause in global economic growth that occurred in the second half of 2011 gave way to renewed expansion. Activity was aided by a relative absence of the kind of major shocks that characterized 2011 (earthquake and tsunami in Japan, flooding in Thailand), although geopolitical tensions and trade sanctions did initially push oil prices higher.