Jan 9, 2020

World Bank cuts growth forecast for fourth time in a row

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The World Bank cut its global growth forecast for the fourth straight time on Wednesday, reducing expectations by 0.2 percentage points each year for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

"Global economic growth is forecast to edge up to 2.5% in 2020 as investment and trade gradually recover from last year’s significant weakness but downward risks persist. ... U.S. growth is forecast to slow to 1.8% this year, reflecting the negative impact of earlier tariff increases and elevated uncertainty."
— World Bank statement on its Global Economic Prospects report

Zoom out: "Global growth decelerated markedly in 2019, with continued weakness in global trade and investment. ... This weakness was widespread, affecting both advanced economies — particularly the Euro Area — and emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs)," notes the report, titled Global Economic Prospects.

  • The bank also warns there's a risk of a fresh global debt crisis, with increased borrowing since 2010 leading to "the largest, fastest, and most broad-based increase in debt" among the four waves of debt buildup in the past 50 years.
"While current low levels of interest rates mitigate some of the risks associated with high debt, previous waves of broad-based debt accumulation ended with widespread financial crises. "

Why it matters: Per Axios' Dion Rabouin, this report shows the economic situation is worse than the World Bank had estimated in October, when it cut its projections for the third time.

The bottom line: Based on these projections, the global economy will likely grow slower, resulting in fewer jobs and wage increases, less new development and fewer people likely to emerge out of poverty in the future.

Read the report:

Go deeper: "A synchronized slowdown": International economic organizations lower growth forecasts

Go deeper

The world's fast-growing mountain of debt

The world's total debt surged by some $9 trillion in the first three quarters of 2019, according to data from the Institute of International Finance, bringing the world's total debt load to $253 trillion, or 322% of its GDP — a record high.

Why it matters: In times of economic strength, economists exhort countries to pare back their debt burdens and pay it down to protect against future unrest and downturn.

Go deeperArrowJan 13, 2020

IMF chief issues warning on global growth amid stock market highs

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Stock indexes around the globe have been roaring higher since the start of the year, but expectations of improved economic growth and soothed international tensions may be getting a bit ahead of themselves.

Driving the news: The IMF released its latest World Economic Outlook Monday, showing yet another revision lower of its expectations for global growth in 2019 and 2020. IMF head Kristalina Georgieva also issued a number of warnings, suggesting that the worst may not have passed yet.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020

The global economic threat of the coronavirus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The coronavirus has the potential to be as damaging to the global economy as the U.S.-China trade war, economists tell Axios, and if not contained could wreak havoc on businesses across the globe, with great uncertainty over how bad things could get.

Why it matters: The epicenter of the virus is China, which is now the world's top trading nation and largest commodity buyer, and the no. 1 trading partner for many of the world's biggest economies, including Germany and Japan, which both are suffering already from anemic growth.