Good news: the Eurozone appears to have avoided a full-scale economic meltdown so far. And the US managed to narrowly avoid the fiscal cliff. But we're not out of the woods yet. The American and European markets continue to be extremely important on a global scale, and pretty much everyone including medtech is hurting from the ongoing economic problems in both regions.
In Europe, things were looking pretty bleak at the beginning of 2012. However, a number of changes happened throughout the year that helped avoid a full-on financial meltdown, explained here
by the Economist. In a nutshell, Greeks realised that they didn't want to leave the Eurozone and brought a new political party to power, Germany realized that they wanted to keep the Eurozone intact and became more committed to keeping Greece in, and the European Central Bank committed to keeping the euro alive by initiatives such as buying bonds from governments such as Italy and Spain. So, unlike what some people predicted, Greece is still part of the Eurozone as of the beginning of 2013, likely helping to hold a meltdown in check.
But things are still not looking so great in Greece. Unemployment is frighteningly high
: 25% in general and nearly 60% for youths. Given that most economists would consider an unemployment rate of above 10% pretty bad, this is looking pretty dismal. Joblessness is also very high in Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, and Belgium. And there's no guarantee that throughout 2013 a country won't get totally fed up and decide to exit the Eurozone. So in conclusion: things have been kept in check, but the situation remains fragile.
So overall, we might see some steps in the right direction in 2013, but don't expect things to get rosier very quickly.