This week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its latest World Economic Outlook. The report was sobering for Europe but extremely upbeat for the U.S. thanks to the shale revolution.
This revolution has driven down natural gas prices in the U.S. while prices have risen in Europe and Japan. The IMF calculates that each 10 percent drop in natural gas prices boosts U.S. industrial production by 0.7 percent compared to Europe. Currently, U.S. pricing is less than 1/2 of European pricing.
The IMF further reported that shale has boosted overall manufacturing by 3 percent since 2006, raised investment by 10 percent, increased job growth by 2 percent, and increased exports by 6 percent. All of these statistics and more are contained in this article from the Financial Times that laments the fact that Europe trails the U.S. in developing the shale opportunity. "American business leaders (and voters) have an incentive to gamble on bold technological change; in Europe, it is harder to dream about pleasant surprises."
Exceptions exist – British leader Nick Clegg is solidly behind shale gas – but antipathy rules. "The longer shale gas remains a dirty word in Europe, the more the transatlantic gap in productivity and psychology will widen."
You can read the full IMF Report here.