The world economic picture has become cloudier during the summer in the northern hemisphere. Worries have risen about a slowdown in breakneck Chinese expansion while the threat of a double-dip recession – though still fairly small – has not disappeared in the US and Europe. The European Central Bank has recovered some of its poise after the setbacks over Europe’s sovereign debt woes earlier this year. One bright spot is that activity has picked up in Germany, just at the time when Europe’s largest economy has been incurring the irritation of President Barack Obama by unveiling a plan for cutting government spending. Germany and Britain, inside and outside the euro, are moving in step in the quest for lower budget deficits.