Businesses struggle from Asia to Europe

For China watchers, it's political theatre at its most spectacular.

The annual People's Party Consultative Conference gathering ahead of a showcase meeting of China's top assembly, the National People's Congress.

No surprise at some items on the agenda.

"We should promote the progress of supply-side structural reform, and the major tasks of cutting overcapacity and excess inventory - deleverage, reduce costs, and strengthen points of weakness," said Mr Yun Zhengsheng, Chairman of the National Commitee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. 

PMI readings show China's services slowing in February, thought it is not the only one.

Japanese services are at a seven-month low.

UK services close to a three-year low, and Euro zone businesses are confirmed to have suffered their worst month in over a year.

No surprise there either, according to Charles Stanley's Chief Economist Jeremy Batstone-Carr.

He said, "There's the banking sector, there's the Grexit, there's the Ukraine going on, there's weak government or no government in Spain, you've got extremist political parties, there's uncertainty over Angela Merkel's position as chancellor of Germany, and of course there's this debate about the effectiveness of ECB policy as well."

That too is a potential cause for alarm as markets pin hopes on more easing at next week's meeting.

"The risk for risk assets is that despite elevated expectations," Mr Batstone-Carr added. "The ECB may be rather limited in what it can do than perhaps the market thinks."

More data in coming weeks is expected to show more slowing in China, which will likely pressure Chinese leaders into implementing more support measures.

And to pose an unpalatable question: could a global recession be looming?