Slowdown – Rather than Collapse – in Global Growth Anticipated for 2019

22 Jan 2019

Fon Mathuros, Head of Media, World Economic Forum: Tel.: +41 (0)79 201 0211; Email:

· Economic experts predict economic slowdowns in major global markets, including China and the United States, for 2019

· Central banks are likely to moderate monetary policy to keep economic “soft spots” from turning into sharp declines

· The opening of China’s market is likely to increase competitiveness of Chinese businesses and could improve Chinese consumption, which could serve as a future driver of global growth

· The Annual Meeting is being held under the theme, Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

· For more information about the Annual Meeting, visit

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 22 January 2019 – Slowing growth could pose risks for the global economy in 2019, as experts predict flattening or declining rates for economies ranging from the United States to Europe to China. High levels of corporate and sovereign debt in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis raise questions about how governments and corporations can respond to such slowdowns.

However, “slowing down in China is not a collapse,” noted Fang Xinghai, Vice-Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, in a session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019. Economic experts predict 6% growth in China for 2019, which is still relatively strong. Fang noted that declines in overheated sectors, such as real estate and infrastructure, could provide useful correctives for the market.

Recent trade disputes between the United States and China raise a number of questions about declining exports for both countries. “The trade war has come as a benefit in disguise,” countered Jin Keyu, Professor of Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science. Jin argued that the dispute has provided external pressure on China to make needed reforms and open its economy.

For example, much of China’s credit remains in the financial sector or goes to state-owned enterprises. Implementing reforms to make credit more available to Chinese households could help unleash the “latent dynamism of the private sector,” Jin explained. Greater consumption from Chinese households could, in turn, offset declining consumer demand in other nations – one potential bright spot for the global economy.

Another source of risk involves high levels of government debt in the United States. “We have a real problem in terms of the quantity of debt we have to sell to the world over the next several years,” said Ray Dalio, Chairman of Bridgewater Associates.

Historically, China has been a major international buyer of US debt, but the recent trade dispute has raised questions about bilateral relations. Fang predicted that the political dispute would not affect the Chinese government’s interest in buying US debt. “I don’t think China will in any way significantly reduce its investment into the US bond market,” he noted.

How will central banks respond to slow global growth?

Experts predict that easing monetary policies and fiscal reforms could offset the slowdown, but with interest rates still at post-financial crisis low points, there are questions about how much room central banks have to manoeuvre.

Alex A. Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors at UBS, predicted one or two rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve in 2019 but added that aggressive tightening would be unlikely, given the softness of the global economy. “I think monetary policy normalization is not an issue for this cycle. It’s an issue for the next cycle,” Weber noted.

Soft but stable growth characterizes the general outlook for 2019, but experts noted that a range of serious risks still exist on the periphery, such as a “hard exit” of Britain from the European Union, climate change, and cybersecurity.

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting brings together more than 3,000 global leaders from politics, government, civil society, academia, the arts and culture as well as the media. Convening under the theme, Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, participants are focusing on new models for building sustainable and inclusive societies in a plurilateral world. For further information, please click here.

Notes to editors

Watch live webcasts

Guide to how to follow and embed sessions on your website at

View the best photos from the event at

Read the Forum Agenda at

Become a fan of the Forum on Facebook at

Watch Forum videos at

Follow the Forum on Twitter via @wef and @davos, and join the conversation using #wef19

Follow the Forum on Instagram at

Follow the Forum on LinkedIn at

Learn about the Forum’s impact on

Subscribe to Forum news releases at

All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum