Putting an object into Earth’s orbit is more complicated than aiming the pointy end of the rocket up and hoping. A projectile has to get high and fast enough to fall on a trajectory that matches the curvature of the planet’s surface, continually falling but never crashing. And it is important to find a free spot, as there are about 21,000 objects in orbit larger than 4 inches in size. In spring, advanced economies appeared to have found the right trajectories in macroeconomic space, expanding along parallel paths that promised to limit cyclical and market strains among them.
Their places in this cosmos are less assured of late, as incoming data for the euro area have consistently disappointed expectations over the past two months. In part, spending sagged in light of internal political turmoil and external trade tensions. A slowing of such a large body of economic mass implies it shifts to a lower orbit and, in the transition, raises the risk of collision.