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A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in mid 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

The 52:52:52 project, launching on this site and on social media in mid 2024, will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

This site addresses what's changing, at the personal, organisational and societal levels. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 elements of life, from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and much more besides, which will help you better prepare for related change in your own life.

What's Changing? - Economics



Please see below selected recent economic developments.


See also:


May 2024


October 2023


July 2023


April 2023

  • Outgoing World Bank President David Malpass revised upwards the international lender’s 2023 global growth outlook, from 1.7% to 2%. He credited China’s improved economic trajectory for the change. However, The International Monetary Fund forecast the world’s economy would grow just 3% annually until 2028, its weakest projection since 1990.


December 2022


October 2022


September 2022

  • The OECD slashed its 2023 growth forecast. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will cost the global economy an estimated US$2.8 trillion, according to the organisation.


June 2022


May 2022

  • Big shocks to the global economy, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, capture the most attention, but a new worldwide pattern of “little fires everywhere” may be equally consequential for longer-term economic well-being. Over time, these small fires can coalesce into one that is just as threatening as the initial large fire that acted as the catalyst. As Michael Spence, the Nobel laureate economist and an expert on growth and development dynamics, pointed out, the probability of simultaneous growth, energy, food, and debt crises is worryingly high for many developing countries. If that nightmare scenario materialised, the effects would be felt far beyond individual developing countries - and would extend well beyond economics and finance.


April 2022

  • TIGER - a global index tracking global economic recovery and set up by the Brookings Institution and the Financial Times - warned that stagflation might affect most economies in 2022 as the war in Ukraine exacerbates a slowdown in the global post-pandemic recovery. The International Monetary Fund meanwhile lowered its growth forecasts for 143 of the world’s economies, representing 86% of global GDP.
  • US economic growth shrank by 1.4% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022, the first contraction since the pandemic began.


January 2022

  • The World Bank expected the global economy to grow by just 4.1 percent in 2022, 1.1 percentage points less than in 2021, amid a pandemic-related slowdown that will hit developing countries the hardest. COVID variants, inflation, supply-chain woes, and less government stimulus are to blame.
  • The US and China are dragging down the world economy, warned Quartz. The IMF lowered its prediction for global growth in 2022, in part because of slowdowns in the globe’s two largest economies.
  • Yet the US economy grew 5.7 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year, the biggest annual expansion in almost four decades. While this was good news for the Biden administration, GDP growth was expected to slow down in 2022 due to high inflationsupply chain issues, and looming interest rate hikes.
  • Meanwhile, China’s GDP could grow on average 5.9 percent per year until 2025, according to the Center for Economics and Business Research, which predicts that China will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by the end of the decade. The Chinese economy was worth $18 trillion in 2021, compared to America’s $23 trillion, noted GZERO.


December 2021

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that global debt surged to US$226t - its biggest one-year jump since World War Two. IMF officials said that the COVID-19 pandemic caused debt to hit 256% of global GDP in 2020, an increase of 28%. Government borrowing accounted for slightly over half of the US$28t increase, but private debt among non-financial corporations and households also hit new highs. The IMF added that advanced economies and China accounted for 90% of the rise, enabled by low-interest rates. Debt rose less in other developing countries, which were hampered by often higher borrowing costs and limited access to funding.
  • By the end of 2021, over 1 billion people across 25+ countries were suffering from double-digit inflation of their currency. At the minimum listed 10% inflation, their purchasing power would halve in just 8 years. As many countries experienced high inflation, people would be likely to increasingly look for other stores of value, which according to CB Insights which may drive crypto adoption.


October 2021

  • The International Monetary Fund said the global economic recovery was stalling. The IMF cut its growth forecast and warned about diverging paths for rich and poor countries. 


July 2021

  • The International Monetary Fund estimated that global growth for 2021 would be about 6%, but with some countries growing faster and others more slowly. The relative lack of vaccine access in developing countries and the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant threatened to slow the recovery's momentum.
  • The Economist called the global economic recovery fast, furious and fragile. Any escape from COVID-19 is a cause for celebration. But today’s booming economy is also a source of anxiety, because three fault lines lie beneath the surface. The first divides the jabs from the jab-nots. Only those countries getting vaccinations into arms will be able to tame covid-19. The second runs between supply and demand, including bottlenecks and imbalances as economies open up. And the last is over the withdrawal of stimulus. Rich-world central banks have bought assets worth over $10trn. At some point that will need to be reversed.


June 2021

  • The World Bank raised its global growth forecast to 5.6% in 2021. Recovery in China and the US drove the rosier prediction, but unequal access to vaccines will hold back the developing world.


April 2021

  • The global economy is set to grow by 6 percent in 2021, the IMF said, representing the biggest output surge since the 1970s. Much of this anticipated growth is attributed to big government stimulus packages pumped into developed economies like the US, the EU and Japan in recent months. In the United States, the world's largest economy, many economists estimated that the $1.9 trillion relief package would spur economic expansion by 6.4 percent in 2021, with the US set to join China as the only two economies to achieve GDP growth exceeding pre-pandemic levels. 


March 2021

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) raised its growth forecast for 2021 to 5.6% (an upgrade of 1.4%), but added there were increasing signs of divergence between countries and sectors. The improvement in the economic outlook reflects the deployment of effective vaccines. The forecast also includes a marked upgrade for the US due to government stimulus plans, which could benefit the country’s trading partners.
  • China aimed for economic growth of over 6%. Beijing returned to its tradition of setting an annual GDP target after not doing so amid the pandemic in 2020.
  • Green shoots of recovery started to emerge in Europe:
    • The IHS Markit’s preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) for Germany rose to 66.6 in March - the highest since April 1996  - up from 60.7 in February. Services PMI rose to 50.8 in March, up from 45.7 in February. 
    • The IHS Markit’s preliminary composite purchasing managers index (PMI) for France rose to 49.5 in March, up from 47 in February. Manufacturing PMI rose to 58.8 in March - the highest level since December 2017.


February 2021


January 2021


December 2020

  • The World Bank warned of a “lost decade” economically because of the impact of the pandemic on global trade and investment - as well as on education and its contribution to productivity. The international bank lowered its estimate for potential worldwide growth between 2020 and 2029 to 1.9%, compared with a 2.5% expansion the previous decade. 
  • Slashing its forecast for global growth, the OECD warned that policymakers needed to act to remove “fiscal cliffs” affecting small businesses and low earners amid a resurgence of the coronavirus. While distribution of vaccines would be key to avoiding a worse outcome, the thinktank lowered its 2021 outlook to 4.2% from 5%, and said China would likely supplant the West as the global growth leader at least temporarily.
  • With the world mired in its worst economic crisis in decades, investment banks this year generated a record $125 billion in fees. The surge came as lenders and underwriters helped companies raise cash to weather the pandemic and its economic effects, noted GZERO Media.
  • Countries injected about $20 trillion of stimulus into their economies in 2020 - about a quarter of the global GDP - to keep people and businesses afloat


November 2020

  • The coronavirus outbreak prompted advanced economies to unveil extraordinary fiscal measures. Though governments are too busy tackling the pandemic to worry about their fiscal deficits, the debt pile-ups will have to eventually be confronted. The EIU's latest quarterly forecast examined what options governments have in tackling this issue and considered the long-term implications a debt problem could have on the global economy.
  • After almost a decade of negotiations, 15 countries in the Asia Pacific — including China — signed one of the world's largest free trade agreements, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Experts say that the pact, which covers 2.2 billion people, could help solidify China's role as the world's dominant economic power after the Trump administration pulled out of the rival Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017.


October 2020


September 2020

  • The Economist pointed to another raft of data that underscored the toll that Covid-19 is taking on economies, as more countries reported record-breaking contractions in quarterly GDP.India’s economy was around a quarter smaller in April to June than in the first three months of the year. Australia’s GDP shrank by 7%, Brazil’s by 9.7%, and Turkey’s by 11% - see article.
  • Australia's economy plunged into its first recession in nearly 30 years, as it suffers the economic fallout from the coronavirus. Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 7% in the April-to-June quarter compared to the previous three months. This is the biggest fall since records began back in 1959 and came after a fall of 0.3% in the first quarter.


August 2020


July 2020


June 2020

  • A forecast from the World Bank predicted the global economy would contract in 2020 by 5.2% and the declines will be more widespread than at any time in the last 150 years. The World Bank’s president, David Malpass, said the coronavirus pandemic was jeopardising decades of progress in the developing world. He said many developing countries were fighting on two fronts - the domestic outbreak of the disease and the economic spill-over from deep recessions in rich nations. The Bank says developing economies as a group will decline this year, the first time that has happened in at least six decades. The report also says incomes per person will fall in a larger proportion of countries than at any time since 1870. The downturn, the Bank warns, will tip millions of people into extreme poverty.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) further downgraded its forecasts for the global economy for 2020 and 2021. The IMF now says economic activity in 2020 is likely to decline by almost 5% – nearly two percentage points more than what it predicted in April. It says this is likely to increase so-called "economic scars" as companies close and people lose their jobs. The international organisation expects the efficiency of businesses that do survive to be undermined by steps to enhance workplace safety and hygiene.
  • The pandemic's impact on growth will be biggest in Europe, according to the OECD, a group of advanced countries. Spain, France, Italy and the UK will suffer most, with GDP in each contracting by at least 14 percent from the previous year. That's a collapse nearly twice as big as the projection for the global economy, which is set to shrink by 7.6 percent this year.


May 2020

  • Just about the entire planet grappled with what may well be the biggest disruption in trade and commerce since the Great Depression. Policymakers fought back with trillions of dollars of spending and lending. The result was the largest experiment in economic policy outside of a world war.
  • Even before the pandemic, globalisation was in trouble. The open system of trade that had dominated the world economy for decades had been damaged by the financial crash and the Sino-American trade war. Now it is reeling from its third body-blow in a dozen years as lockdowns have sealed borders and disrupted commerce (see Briefing). The number of passengers at Heathrow has dropped by 97% year-on-year; Mexican car exports fell by 90% in April; 21% of transpacific container-sailings in May have been cancelled. 
  • The Federal Reserve’s Nowcast, a statistical model based on economic indicators, forecasts a 31% contraction in US GDP, while economists at JPMorgan estimate the economy could shrink as much as 40%.
  • Japan slid into a recession. The economy shrank 3.4% from the previous quarter, marking a significant contraction for the second consecutive quarter.
  • France's economy is set to shrink by roughly 20% in the second quarter as a result of the country's tough lockdown measures, the statistics office Insee said. It contracted by nearly 6% in the first quarter, according to Insee. Economic activity was functioning at 21% below usual levels after the easing of the lockdown, which was in place from mid-March to early May, it added. But consumer spending improved to 6% below normal levels after shops were allowed to reopen after nearly two months. Earlier in May it was 33% below normal levels. If activity were to rebound to pre-crisis levels by July, Insee said that France's economy could contract 8% for the whole of 2020.
  • Spain, which draws about 15 percent of its total GDP from tourism, stands to lose as much as 92 billion euros in revenue in 2020 as a result of travel bans.
  • Singapore slashed its 2020 economic outlook again. The economy is predicted to contract between 4% to 7% this year, deeper than the 1% to 4% forecast earlier, setting the country on track for its worst recession since its independence in 1965.


April 2020

  • With the Asian Development Bank estimating that the COVID-19 outbreak’s global cost could reach $4.1 trillion and the OECD warning that the shock caused by the pandemic is already greater than the financial crisis of 2007, the global economic impact of the health emergency is not only vast but also unpredictable. The disruption to a number of industries and sectors including, but not limited to, the airline and energy industries, could result in long-term damage to global trade flows, supply and demand.
  • The International Monetary Fund released a grim new global outlook that minced no words: "The Great Lockdown" has pushed the world into the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The numbers are staggering. The global economy will contract thirty times more than it did during the 2009-2010 recession. Among major economies, only China and India will grow this year, and just barely.
  • The International Monetary Fund has said that the coronavirus pandemic will cause the world's worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression in the 1930s. It will vastly surpass what happened in 2009 during the recession. If there's a silver lining, it's that the recovery from what the Fund calls "The Great Lockdown" is set to be much faster than what we saw in 2010.
  • The US economy sank at an annual rate of 4.8% during the first quarter, according to official figures. It is the most severe contraction in more than a decade. More than 26 million people in the US have filed for unemployment. 


March 2020

  • The OECD cut its global growth forecast to 2.4% for 2020 and warned that a "longer lasting and more intensive coronavirus outbreak" could slash growth nearly in half, to an annual rate of 1.5 percent. Either way, it would be the world's worst growth rate since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.
  • In China, industrial production for the combined months of January and February fell 13.5% from a year earlier, while retail sales plunged 20.5%, far worse than what economists had predicted. 


February 2020

  • The American public's view of the economy is as positive as it's been in twenty years, with 57 percent of Americans surveyed agreeing that the nation's economy is in "excellent" or "good" shape, according to a Pew poll. But people's viewpoints are sharply partisan: only 39 percent of Democrats agree that the economy is doing well.


January 2020


December 2019

  • During the 2010s, China and the United States increased their share of global GDP. In 2010, China accounted for 9 percent of global output, rising to 15 percent by 2018. The US went from 22 percent to 23 percent over the same time frame.


November 2019

  • The global slowdown that began in early 2018 is nearing an end, according to Goldman Sachs Research economists, who forecast 3.4% global GDP growth in 2020. The modest increase from 2019’s expected growth of 3.1% will be driven by easier financial conditions, a US-China trade détente, and reduced Brexit uncertainty. 
  • The world's economy is set to grow at its slowest pace since the global financial crisis a decade ago, according to the OECD. The gloomy forecast notes that governments aren't doing enough to deal with big structural changes like US-China trade tensions, climate change, or the digital revolution. The last time the global economy nose-dived, countries were able to muster enough collaboration to coordinate a global response. But given the profound dysfunction of the international order these days, it's hard to imagine countries doing the same again if things take a turn for the worse, warned GZEROMedia. 


October 2019

  • Global economic growth this year will slow to its weakest level since the 2008 global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund predicted. The US-China trade war is a big reason why: the tariff spat between the world's two largest economies could knock 0.8% off global GDP by 2020.
  • The Chinese economy has slowed down. After bringing close to a billion people out of poverty since 1979, an economy that became the 20th century's "workshop to the world" is now expanding at its slowest pace in thirty years. That's not quite as bad as it sounds – but it's a looming challenge for a system where part of the deal with the population is: little political freedom, lots of growth.


August 2019


July 2019

  • The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for economic growth in the world's emerging markets this year to 4.1 percent – the weakest rate in a decade. Iran, Russia, and South Africa were among the global political hotspots expected to suffer from shrinking economies this year.
  • China’s economic growth slowed to 6.2% in the second quarter, its weakest pace in at least 27 years, as demand at home and abroad faltered in the face of mounting U.S. trade pressure.
  • It's been 121 months since the US emerged from the steep recession that followed the financial crisis in June 2009. That's the longest economic expansion in US history.


June 2019


May 2019


April 2019


March 2019

  • China cut its GDP target. Premier Li Keqiang lowered the country’s growth target during the annual National People’s Congress meetings, setting it at 6% to 6.5%. He also announced a major tax cut aimed at boosting the manufacturing sector.
  • Indeed, a new paper found that China’s statistics on industrial output and investment were consistently embellished by an average of two percentage points every year from 2008 to 2016. This would have exaggerated the size of the economy by 16%, or more than $1.5trn, in 2016. But though China’s economy may be smaller than previously thought, it could be more resilient, noted The Economist.
  • Germany's economy just about avoided falling into recession during the final three months of last year. Europe's largest economy registered zero growth during the fourth quarter of 2018, the country's Federal Statistics Office said. China’s industrial output growth then slumped to its lowest in a decade. The world’s second-largest economy slowed further, with industrial production growth falling to 5.3% in January and February, below the 5.6% estimate by economists, while unemployment edged up to 5.3% from 4.9% in December.
  • Italy was due to become the first G7 country to formally endorse China's Belt and Road global investment plan. Italian officials hope to draw Chinese investment into Italy's aging infrastructure and open Chinese markets to more Italian-made products. EU and American officials fear that Chinese investment will leave Italy dangerously deep in debt. (Italy is already the second most indebted country in Europe, after Greece.) They also worry that Italy's endorsement for Belt and Road will undermine their ability to present a united front when bargaining with China over trade and investment practices, noted GZEROMedia.
  • Australia’s economy slowed more than expected. GDP in the fourth quarter of 2018 rose 0.2%, below economists’ forecast of 0.3%, and the Australian dollar fell to a three-month low.
  • Sovereign wealth funds’ quiet march on the world economy continues, acording to Quartz. Despite little media attention, these secretive state-run institutions have quadrupled in size since 2005 and now command cash equal to 10% of global GDP. Today they’re buying up not just stocks and bonds, but also direct stakes in the world’s most promising companies. 


February 2019


January 2019


December 2018

  • The economics profession is vulnerable to groupthink. It suffers from a stark absence of diversity that results in missing crucial information, warned Quartz.
  • Quartz also believes that, 10 years after the financial crisis, the foundations of economics are now changing. Students educated in the shadow of the crisis are demanding new lessons, and a more diverse education that tackles the issues most people are grappling with today, such as economic anxiety, inequality, sustainability, and climate change. 
  • 40 years ago, China’s share of global GDP was 2%; now it is more than 18%. The debate about its growth is sometimes divided between those who credit the government and those who credit the market. Both government policies and market forces have clearly been important, argued The Economist, and the real issue is how they have interacted. China is already the world’s largest manufacturer and biggest exporter. In other words, if it’s not already the world’s dominant economic power, China soon will be
  • America’s economy added 155,000 net new jobs in November and its unemployment rate, at 3.7%, is at its lowest in roughly half a century. A broadening of global growth and a fiscal stimulus provided by President Donald Trump’s tax cut spurred the economy, but the main credit should go to the Federal Reserve. Its decision to raise interest rates and rein in growth gradually has kept inflation low even as unemployment has fallen, claimed The Economist.
  • Vladimir Putin decreed that Russia become one of the world’s five largest economies by 2024. To achieve this, Russia’s GDP would have to grow by an average 4.4 percent per year between now and then. The World Bank estimates that Russia will average 1-1.5 percent GDP growth over this period. 
  • The commentariat is divided on whether there is such a thing as a "good" recession, with some believing that no longer will we be judged primarily by what we earn, and that this "will refashion us for the better", or that "as times get worse, we get better". At the same time, others argue the opposite - i.e. that recessions "do not make people finer, more spiritual human beings. They destroy lives" and that "affluenza trumps penury" every time. So who's right? Time will tell. For now, this feels like a classic relativist stand-off.


November 2018


October 2018

  • The IMF lowered its growth forecast for the world. The organisation revised its estimate for global GDP growth this year from 3.9% to 3.7%, warning of trade barriers, lower capital flows to emerging markets, and political risks.
  • Indeed, stock markets don’t always correlate well with what’s going on in the economy, but a largely lacklustre showing this year may well be sending out warning pulses, warned Prospect. For the economic and financial community, which had already been speculating that the next recession might be due in 2020, the abiding sense from the IMF is that there are plenty of reasons to worry.
  • The latest Global Economic Conditions Survey the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Institute of Management Accountants) revealed confidence fell in the third quarter of 2018, to its lowest since the beginning of 2016. News flow about trade tensions has greatly impacted on confidence within the world’s biggest economies - the US and China. While confidence fell by 20 points, it held up best in South Asia and Western Europe with falls of 2 and 6 points respectively. But in both key regions of North America and Asia Pacific confidence fell by over 20 points; in Asia Pacific confidence is at its lowest since the start of 2016, in North America it is the lowest since the start of 2017. Confidence in the Middle East and Africa also fell sharply by 35 and 22 points respectively.
  • The Economist looked at the growing rivalry between China and America. For the past 25 years America has believed that economic integration would make China not just wealthier but also more liberal, pluralistic and democratic. Today, however, America has come to see China as a strategic rival—a malevolent actor and a rule-breaker.
  • China published its third-quarter GDP figures. Growth for the quarter came in at 6.5% year-on-year, slightly below analysts’ expectations and the slowest pace since 2009, suggesting that trade tensions and a slowing economy at home are starting to bite.
  • Europe’s economy is still seen by many as both stagnant and crisis-prone yet, for Chatham House at least, it is proving resilient with new signs of growth.
  • Bruegel welcomed a Financial Times commentator to explore the journey taken by the field of economics since the financial crisis struck 10 years ago, and discuss what new tools economics has now that it didn’t have then - read report.
  • Economists hoped for a pick-up in the eurozone economy for the second half of the year, but with uncertainty around Brexit and trade tensions, that hasn’t materialised.
  • There are high levels of consumer and business confidence in the US and unemployment rates are at a 50-year low, leading to both surging investment and the US being on pace to top three percent GDP growth for the first time in over a decade. However, many wonder if it can last, saying that fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts is simply a ‘sugar high’, noted Chatham House, asking what are the main economic goals of the current administration.


September 2018


August 2018

  • 60 private-sector economists were recently surveyed by the Wall Street Journal, and their prediction is somewhat dire, noted Big Think. 59% of them say the economic expansion that began in 2009 after the Great Recession of 2008 took the wind out of the world’s economic sails will end in 2020. Another 22% pegged the year 2021
  • BRICS countries, particularly China and India, will continue to play a strong role in shaping the direction of the global economy, found EY. While GDP growth in China accelerated to 6.9% in 2017, it is projected to weaken slightly to 6.6% in 2018 owing to the lagged effect of financial regulatory tightening and softening of external demand. The IMF recently noted that a wide range of regulatory reforms reduced financial sector risks in China. For India, the IMF expects a growth rate of 7.3% in 2018 and 7.5% in 2019, making it the fastest-growing country among major economies.
  • Meanwhile, China’s economy showed more signs of slowing. Fixed-asset investment growth fell well short of expectations for the January-July period, as weakening domestic demand and faltering business confidence took their toll. Retail sales also missed expectations, rising 8.8% in July from a year earlier, below an expected 9.1%
  • GZEROMedia pointed to growing economic anxiety in China, where the economy has been slowing for years, in part by design, as the leadership shifts from heavy reliance on exports to a model fuelled by the spending of Chinese consumers. It hasn’t been a smooth process, and the state has recently had to inject more than $100 billion to keep the economy moving at a healthy pace.
  • Stock buybacks are ruining economies, warned Quartz, claiming that the transfer of trillions of dollars to shareholders increases inequality and reduces corporate investment.
  • Greece formally exited its third bailout programme, after receiving more than €300 billion ($342 billion) over eight years from European lenders. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras described the final bailout loan as the “last act in the drama” and proclaimed a “new page” of growth—even though the country still faces severe challenges.
  • Further reading:


July 2018


June 2018


May 2018


April 2018


March 2018


February 2018


January 2018


December 2017


November 2017


October 2017


September 2017


August 2017


July 2017


October 2016


September 2016


August 2016


July 2016


June 2016

  • PwC's Economics team launched its monthly Global Economy Watch for June. This month, PwC economists indicate that productivity growth in Ireland and Spain – the top performing peripheraleconomies in the Eurozone – has outstripped that in Germany, France and the Netherlands. But sectoral fortunes have been mixed, with PwC analysis showing that in several Eurozone economies, productivity in the manufacturing sector has grown at a relatively rapid rate. Meanwhile, figures reveal that the eurozone economy grew faster than the US in the first quarter of 2016. But PwC analysis shows that the economic - and to a greater extent, the labour market - recovery has been uneven. For example, the range of unemployment rates in the eurozone at this stage of the recovery is the highest it has ever been compared to past recoveries.



  • The United Nations cut its global growth forecast for 2016 to 2.4% from its forecast 2.9% in December; however it is attributed largely to the downward revisions for Africa. Global growth is projected to rise marginally to 2.8% in 2017, remaining below pre-crisis trends. The protracted period of slow productivity growth and weak investment weigh on the longer-term potential of the global economy.

  • In its latest twice yearly global assessment, the OECD warned that the world economy is “stuck in a low-growth trap”. The organisation said monetary policy alone could no longer be relied on to deliver growth and governments should be using the fiscal tools at their disposal, such as increases in investment spending, to stimulate demand. It also pointed to several downside risks to global growth, the most immediate of which would be if Britain votes to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23rd.


See also:




May 2016





  • PwC's own Economics team meanwhile launched its monthly Global Economy Watch, for May 2016. Our economists suggested that as countries struggle to reach their economic potential, infrastructure could be the key to boost growth. They point out that eight years after the financial crisis, many large economies continue to have sizeable negative output gaps - indicating the presence of spare capacity in their economies.





April 2016



  • Corporate borrowers across the world have defaulted on $50bn of debt so far this year as the number of delinquent companies accelerates at its fastest pace since the US emerged from the financial crisis in 2009. The sharp decline in commodity prices, spurred by slowing global growth and lacklustre demand for base metals and crude, has weighed on oil and gas producers and miners. Nearly half of the defaults have occurred in these two industries, with companies such as Peabody Energy, Energy XXI and Midstates Petroleum all missing interest payments.



  • The World Trade Organisation revised its 2016 global trade forecast downward by more than one percentage point, warning that a slowdown in China and broad market volatility continue to threaten growth. In September, the WTO estimated that global trade would rise by 3.9% this year, but it now sees a figure of 2.8%, the same rate as 2015 and the fifth year in a row it has been below 3%




  • Global economic growth was running at its weakest for over three years in the first quarter, according to Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data. The JPMorgan Global PMI rose to 51.3 in March, but the latest reading represented only a minor improvement on February’s 40-month low of 50.8. At 51.6, down from 53.1 in the fourth quarter, the average PMI reading for the first three months of the year was the weakest calendar quarter since the end of 2012.



  • PwC's own Economics team launched its monthly Global Economy Watch for April. Our economists argued that subdued growth in some emerging markets and low commodity prices have led to renewed interest in the link between governments and the financial sector. This has also been an important issue on the global policy agenda as policymakers have tried to loosen these ties.






March 2016



  • Oxford Economics' growth forecast for 2016 was steady in March at 2.3% but the forecast for 2017 has been cut again, to 2.7% from 2.9%. The near-term growth outlook has been supported by a decent rally in financial markets. Since mid-February, world stocks have gained around 8% and a number of key commodity prices - including oil - have also risen. Another supportive trend is still healthy consumer demand in advanced economies including the US and eurozone. Although there has been some slippage in consumer confidence, it has been modest compared with either 2012-13 or 2008-09. So overall, the global economy still looks likely to avoid recession and strengthen a touch next year, but for OE risks to the outlook remain skewed to the downside.







  • PwC's own Economics team meanwhile launched the monthly Global Economy Watch for March. This month, our economists suggest that once again the global economy faces a dangerous cocktail of risks including slowing growth in China, a strong dollar, and low commodity prices. But this time, the emerging market economies look the most vulnerable, while advanced economies are still struggling to escape the low economic growth environment almost a decade on from the global financial crisis.




February 2016





  • The OECD published its Interim Economic Outlook, 'Elusive global growth outlook requires urgent policy response'. Highlights:


  • The OECD projects that the global economy will grow by 3 percent this year and 3.3 percent in 2017, which is well below long-run averages of around 3¾ percent. This is also lower than would be expected during a recovery phase for advanced economies, and given the pace of growth that could be achieved by emerging economies in convergence mode.
  • The US will grow by 2 percent this year and by 2.2 percent in 2017, while the UK is projected to grow at 2.1 percent in 2016 and 2 percent in 2017. Canadian growth is projected at 1.4 percent this year and 2.2 percent in 2017, while Japan is projected to grow by 0.8 percent in 2016 and 0.6 percent in 2017.
  • The euro area is projected to grow at a 1.4 percent rate in 2016 and a 1.7 percent pace in 2017. Germany is forecast to grow by 1.3 percent in 2016 and 1.7 percent in 2017, France by 1.2 percent in 2016 and 1.5 percent in 2017, while Italy will see a 1 percent rate in 2016 and 1.4 percent rate in 2017.
  • With China expected to continue rebalancing its economy from manufacturing to services, growth is forecast at 6.5 percent in 2016 and 6.2 percent in 2017. India will continue to grow robustly, by 7.4 percent in 2016 and 7.3 percent in 2017. By contrast, Brazil’s economy is experiencing a deep recession and is expected to shrink by 4 percent this year and only to begin to emerge from the downturn next year.
  • The Interim Economic Outlook calls for a stronger policy response, changing the policy mix to confront the current weak growth more effectively. It points out that sole reliance on monetary policy has proven insufficient to boost demand and produce satisfactory growth, while fiscal policy is contractionary in several major economies and structural reform momentum has slowed.’



  • The Ifo Index for the world economy dropped from 89.6 points to 87.8 points this quarter, drifting further from its long-term average (96.1 points). While assessments of the current economic situation brightened marginally, expectations were less positive than last quarter. The sharp decline in oil prices seems to be having little overall positive economic impact.



  • The current global economy is unpredictable and "disturbed" as a result of transformation. The New Yorkerhas argued that we may be entering a "post-post-Davos" model. Meanwhile, former Chief Economist at UBS, George Magnus recently highlighted the "varying degrees of turmoil" in an editorial for Prospect.




January 2016



  • EY looked at the disruptive potential of the sharing economy in 'Get ready: open to sharing means open for business'. EY said, that sharing economy business models may change the very nature and structure of the corporation. The potential for the sharing economy to disrupt most industries, globally, is unprecedented. Sharing economy business models have been born into a world wholly unprepared for them. Many existing rules don’t apply. But, ready or not, when a sharing economy opportunity knocks on your door, you’ll need to know how you should answer.




December 2015


  • Based on historic patterns of the business cycle, the current expansion has lasted longer than the average gap between recessions. It's prudent to start thinking about where the next recession might come from and emerging market corporate debt is a likely contender, warned the EIU. Ultra-low interest rates in the US, EU, UK and Japan have made financing conditions pretty easy for a lot of emerging market corporates in recent years, and many have taken the chance to borrow on international markets to get access to this cheap finance. In 2010-12, strong local currencies in many commodity exporters, like Brazil and Indonesia, meant that much of this borrowing was in US dollars. Companies in Latin America (especially Brazil), Turkey and South Korea are looking particularly exposed. As interest rates are now on the way up in most countries, and the US dollar is going up against most other currencies, the cost of servicing these loans is rising, and there could be some trouble in 2016. There is less to worry about in China, where little debt is denominated in foreign currency, and much lending is to and from entities that are ultimately state-backed.



  • The European Commission published its new Circular Economy Package intended to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy to boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. The package consists of an EU Action Plan, a timetable setting out when the actions will be completed and a number of legislative (revised) proposals on waste, setting recycling targets. Press release



  • The latest edition of PwC's Global Economy Watch looked at whether consumers are going to behave more like Santa and less like Scrooge over the coming few months. Retail turnover suggests good news for retailers – spending on clothes, communications equipment and leisure activities is now growing faster than average spending, and the outlook is positive for 2016.




November 2015










October 2015



  • New research from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR), a quarterly survey of 2,500+ business leaders in 36 economies, reveals the extent to which contagion caused by China’s economic slowdown is spreading to businesses around the world. Business confidence and expectations for revenue and exports are down, not just in China’s near neighbours, but in several major economies which count on the world’s second biggest economy as a major trading partner.









  • See also World’s Top Finance Officials Find Global Economy Sputtering (WSJ).



  • PwC's own Economics team launched its monthly Global Economy Watch for October. This month, our economists focused on China’s slowing economy as policymakers manage the rapid cooling of its debt-fuelled property market, and analyse how this poses a major challenge for some economies.






September 2015













  • PwC launched its monthly Global Economy Watch for September. This month, our economists focus on sovereign investment funds, and conclude that now is the time for policymakers to review their sovereign investment funds and question whether different objectives could be beneficial for their economy.



August 2015



  • World trade recorded its biggest contraction since the financial crisis in the first half of this year, according to figures that the Financial Times claimed will fuel a debate over whether globalisation has peaked. The volume of global trade fell 0.5% in the three months to June compared with the first quarter, the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, keepers of the World Trade Monitor, said.



  • The eurozone’s economy grew by 0.3% from April to June by comparison with the previous three months, slightly less than the 0.4% that it registered in the first quarter. The surprisingly feeble showing comes despite the European Central Bank launching a big bond-buying programme in March and a depreciated euro, which should boost exports. Germany’s GDP expanded by just 0.4% in the quarter and France recorded zero growth. Still, Greece grew by 0.8% and Spain by 1%. The currency bloc remains on course for its best annual economic performance since 2011.



  • PwC's Economics team launched its monthly economy watch, for August. With recent events in Greece bringing bailouts back into the headlines, this month's issue focuses on how the five eurozone bailout economies have been performing. Click here to read the full Global Economy Watch.








July 2015





  • Gold prices dropped to a five-year low of around $1,090 per troy ounce, partly in reaction to the US Fed repeating that it is on course to raise interest rates this year. The news that China’s central bank, which wants to boost the yuan as a trading currency, had made much smaller purchases of gold reserves than had been thought was also a factor.



  • According to the Eurozone Chartbook for July 2015 from Oxford Economics, momentum in the eurozone remains positive. Growth in Q1 was strong compared to the average of the past five years, at 0.4% over the quarter. The latest activity data suggest that the eurozone recovery has, if anything, gained further momentum in Q2. Oxford's GDP indicator points to quarterly GDP growth of about 0.5% in the second quarter. However, the pace of recovery is likely to remain very different across member states and even stronger exports and investment will not be in a position to significantly boost growth until next year.





  • PwC's own Economics team launched the monthly Global Economy Watch for July. This month's issue focused on the likely move by the US Fed to hike up its policy rate later this year, and the potential impact of this both within the US and globally.






June 2015



  • PwC's Economics team launched its monthly Global Economy Watch for June. This month's issue focused on North Africa. It’s been almost five years since the beginning of the ‘Arab Spring’ which brought about significant change in North Africa and the wider region. With this milestone approaching, PwC economists have taken a look at the five largest North African economies – Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia – and highlighted some of the key points that businesses and policymakers should consider when thinking about North Africa  Click here to read the full Global Economy Watch.










May 2015





  • Euro area annual inflation was 0.0% in April 2015, up from -0.1% in March. In April 2014 the rate was 0.7%. EU annual inflation was also 0.0% in April 2015, up from -0.1% in March. A year earlier the rate was 0.8% - details.



  • PwC's Economics team launched the monthly Global Economy Watch for May. This month's issue focuses on the impact on emerging economies of the rising cost of US$ credit. As the US economy has picked up and QE has come to an end, the dollar has appreciated by around 20% on a trade-weighted basis over the past 12 months PwC’s economists have assessed the vulnerability of 14 emerging markets which have issued significant amounts of dollar denominated debt. Most seem reasonably well placed to deal with the risks associated with a stronger dollar.







  • According to the EU's own forecasts, the combined strength of a number of positive factors blowing in the EU’s direction underpin a slight upward revision for GDP growth this year. Real GDP growth in the euro area is now expected to pick up from 0.9 % last year to 1.5% in 2015 and 1.9% in 2016. In the EU, GDP growth is now forecast to rise from 1.4% in 2014 to 1.8% this year and 2.1% in 2016.






April 2015


  • Eurozone loans to the private sector rose for the first time in three years. Excluding loans to banks, lending rose 0.1% in March compared to a year earlier – the first annual increase since March 2012. Proponents of the ECB's QE program credit the addition of billions of euros into the banking system for the increased willingness of Europe's banks to lend.



  • The Economist identified the 15 fastest growing economies in 2015. five are in Africa.
    Image removed.










March 2015






February 2015







January 2015




  • The FT forecast that the world economy is extremely likely to grow in 2015. It has, after all, grown every year since the second world war, with the sole exception of 2009, the year of the global financial crisis, when it shrank 2% at market exchange rates and remained roughly constant at purchasing power parity. The International Monetary Fund believes the world economy will grow at nearly 4%, at PPP.



December 2014






November 2014



  • The FT asked: where has all the trade gone? Looking at the figures, a casual observer might conclude that globalisation is in crisis. Total trade in goods and services, having initially bounced back from the global financial crisis, has slowed sharply. Usually growing twice as fast as the world economy, it is underperforming gross domestic product for the first time in four decades. In reality, the situation is less dire.


  • Global business confidence fell to a five-year low, claimed CNBC. According to a survey of 6,100 companies by Markit, the number of companies expecting their business activity to be higher in a years' time exceeded those expecting a decline by just 28%. This was below the net balance of 39% recorded in June, and the lowest since the survey began in 2009.




October 2014



  • The Economist warned that the world economy is not in good shape. The news from America and Britain has been reasonably positive, but Japan’s economy is struggling and China’s growth is now slower than at any time since 2009. Unpredictable dangers abound, particularly from the Ebola epidemic, which has killed thousands in West Africa and jangled nerves far beyond. The risk of a new and painful downturn, though still small, is growing. That growing risk is due to the surprising and disconcerting re-emergence of monetary phenomena that haven't really been seen since the gold standard of the 1930s






September 2014







August 2014

  • Deloitte's Global Economic Outlook, Q3 2014 suggested that the global economy appears to be settling into a new normal of modest growth in developed economies, stabilization of growth in emerging economies, and a decline in systemic risks emanating from policy mistakes. On the other hand, geopolitical risks appear to have reared their heads lately to a degree we haven’t seen in some time.



July 2014





Pre 2014

  • "Cradle-to-cradle" organisations claim to be able to dramatically lower their environmental impact and increase their "eco-effectiveness".  This forms part of a wider drive towards a "circular economy", which imagines ways to re-think and re-design the way we make stuff and re-design the way our economy works - designing products that can be 'made to be made again' and powered by renewable energy.