The Foreseer | Global Trends

Economic Outlook

By in @Home, Economy on March 1, 2015

Global economy is set to grow slower in 2015…

United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015 (WESP) report.

United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015 Report.

Global economic growth is forecast to increase marginally over the next two years, according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015 (WESP) report. The global economy is expected to grow 3.1 per cent in 2015 and 3.3 per cent in 2016, compared with an estimated growth of 2.6 per cent for 2014.

The global economy expanded during 2014 at a moderate and uneven pace. Legacies from the global financial crisis continue to weigh on growth, while new challenges have emerged, including geopolitical conflicts such as in Ukraine and the Ebola epidemic.

Unemployment figures remain historically high in some regions, but appear to have stopped rising. While global inflation remains subdued, the spectrum ranges from deflation risks in the euro area to high inflation in some developing countries. Foreign direct investment inflows have remained the most stable and relevant source of financing for developing countries whereas portfolio capital flows are highly sensitive to changes in risk appetite.

Trade growth is expected to pick up moderately with the volume of world imports of goods and services projected to grow by 4.7 per cent in 2015. In 2015, fiscal tightening in most developed economies will continue, although the pace of tightening is expected to slow. The strong US dollar is expected to remain the dominant trend on foreign exchange markets.

IMF Economic Outlook 2015

Global Growth Revised Down, Despite Cheaper Oil, Faster U.S. Growth

  • Global growth will receive a boost from lower oil prices, which reflect to an important extent higher supply. But this boost is projected to be more than offset by negative factors, including investment weakness as adjustment to diminished expectations about medium-term growth continues in many advanced and emerging market economies.
  • Global growth in 2015–16 is projected at 3.5 and 3.7 percent, downward revisions of 0.3 percent relative to the October 2014 World Economic Outlook (WEO). The revisions reflect a reassessment of prospects in China, Russia, the euro area, and Japan as well as weaker activity in some major oil exporters because of the sharp drop in oil prices. The U.S. is the only major economy for which growth projections have been raised.
  • The distribution of risks to global growth is more balanced than in October. The main upside risk is a greater boost from lower oil prices, although there is uncertainty about the persistence of the oil supply shock. Downside risks relate to shifts in sentiment and volatility in global financial markets, especially in emerging market economies, where lower oil prices have introduced external and balance sheet vulnerabilities in oil exporters. Stagnation and low inflation are still concerns in the euro area and in Japan.

World Bank Economic Outlook 2015

Global Economy to Improve in 2015, But Divergent Trends Pose Downside Risks

World Bank Group’s Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report.

World Bank Group’s Global Economic Prospects Report.

The global economy is still struggling to gain momentum as many high-income countries continue to grapple with legacies of the global financial crisis and emerging economies are less dynamic than in the past.

Global growth in 2014 was lower than initially expected, continuing a pattern of disappointing outturns over the past several years. Growth picked up only marginally in 2014, to 2.6 percent, from 2.5 percent in 2013. Beneath these headline numbers, increasingly divergent trends are at work in major economies.

While activity in the United States and the United Kingdom has gathered momentum as labor markets heal and monetary policy remains extremely accommodative, the recovery has been sputtering in the Euro Area and Japan as legacies of the financial crisis linger, intertwined with structural bottlenecks. China, meanwhile, is undergoing a carefully managed slowdown. Disappointing growth in other developing countries in 2014 reflected weak external demand, but also domestic policy tightening, political uncertainties and supply-side constraints.

Several major forces are driving the global outlook: soft commodity prices; persistently low interest rates but increasingly divergent monetary policies across major economies; and weak world trade. In particular, the sharp decline in oil prices since mid-2014 will support global activity and help offset some of the headwinds to growth in oil-importing developing economies. However, it will dampen growth prospects for oil-exporting countries, with significant regional repercussions.

Overall, global growth is expected to rise moderately, to 3.0 percent in 2015, and average about 3.3 percent through 2017. High-income countries are likely to see growth of 2.2 percent in 2015-17, up from 1.8 percent in 2014, on the back of gradually recovering labor markets, ebbing fiscal consolidation, and still-low financing costs. In developing countries, as the domestic headwinds that held back growth in 2014 ease and the recovery in high-income countries slowly strengthens, growth is projected to gradually accelerate, rising from 4.4 percent in 2014 to 4.8 percent in 2015 and 5.4 percent by 2017. Lower oil prices will contribute to diverging prospects for oil-exporting and -importing countries, particularly in 2015.

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