Financial and Monetary Systems

The IMF's latest update on the global economy, and other economics stories to read

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Economics update ... The International Monetary Fund has raised its expectations for the global economy in 2024. Image: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
  • This weekly round-up brings you the latest stories from the world of economics and finance.
  • Top economy stories: Latest on the global economy from the IMF; Eurozone avoids recession; Nigeria devalues its currency.

1. IMF: Latest on the global economy

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its outlook for global economic growth, with increases for both the US and China. The UN financial agency cited inflation easing more quickly than expected, with its chief economist, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, saying that a 'soft-landing' was in sight.

"The global economy continues to display remarkable resilience, with inflation declining steadily and growth holding up," Gourinchas told reporters in Johannesburg. "We are very far from a global recession scenario."

The IMF is now forecasting global growth of 3.1% in 2024, up two-tenths of a percentage point on its October forecast. It expects unchanged growth next year, at 3.2%. From 2000 to 2019, global growth averaged 3.8%.

However, Gourinchas cautioned that risks remain, including geopolitical tensions and disruptions to shipping in the Red Sea. Overall growth and global trade remain below historical averages. This uncertainty was echoed in the World Economic Forum's latest Chief Economists Outlook.

Growth and inflation
Global growth forecasts.

2. Eurozone avoids recession at end of 2023

The Eurozone economy continued to struggle towards the end of 2023, shrinking by 0.3% in the final 3 months of the year, according to flash data from Eurostat.

This marks the sixth consecutive quarter of no or little growth for the bloc, despite overall growth in the global economy, and stronger-than-expected growth in the United States in particular. It means the 20 countries that are part of the bloc just avoided a recession in the final quarter of the year.

The IMF has downgraded its forecast for Eurozone growth to 0.9% this year and 1.7% in 2025, with Reuters reporting that economists expect growth to remain sluggish into 2024.


3. News in brief: Stories on the economy from around the world

Preliminary data suggests that German inflation slowed to 3.1% in January, helped by a decline in energy prices.

The latest IMF World Economic Outlook suggests that India's economy will grow at 6.5% in the financial year starting 1 April.

The Canadian economy likely grew in December, according to a preliminary estimate, which follows higher-than-expected growth in November.

US consumer confidence has hit a two-year high in January, amid slowing inflation and expectations of a US Federal Reserve rate cut.

South Korean exports rose for a fourth straight month in January, following a jump in chip shipments as well as sales to China. It comes as the country's inflation slowed to a six-month low in January.

Nigeria has devalued its currency, the second such move in the last eight months. It's designed to attract investment and simplify its system of exchange rates.

US worker productivity grew quicker than expected in the last quarter of 2023. This helped keep labour costs contained, with other data also suggesting that labour market momentum is slowing.

January saw a mixed performance for the world's factories, with fresh orders boosting things in the US, but soft Chinese demand hit factories across Asia. Disruption to Red Sea shipping also caused delays in Europe.

The Bank of England has kept interest rates steady, at 5.25%. Six members of its Monetary Policy Committee voted to hold rates, while two voted for 0.25 percentage-point increases and one for a cut of the same size.

The World Trade Organization has warned that it will likely cut its estimates for goods trade growth for last year and this year.

Watch this clip of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the WTO. Speaking in Davos earlier this year, she said globalization had developed a bad name because some poor people in rich countries were left out.

4. More on finance and the economy from our blog

How do we achieve good global growth in challenging times? Leaders from global governments and businesses emphasize the importance of innovation, collaboration and a human-centred approach.

Exclusion from the workforce and positions of power comes at a large cost to the global economy. Here, experts at Davos explain what needs to happen to create a more inclusive world.

The EDISON Alliance has helped 784 million people in 127 countries access the internet and digital services - but billions of people are still offline. Here are 5 charts on how we can get more people access to the internet.


How is the World Economic Forum improving the global financial system?

Related topics:
Financial and Monetary SystemsEconomic ProgressGeo-economics
1. IMF: Latest on the global economy2. Eurozone avoids recession at end of 20233. News in brief: Stories on the economy from around the world4. More on finance and the economy from our blog

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