Pandemic rebound peaks but recovery story still intact

The initial post-pandemic resurgence is nearing its zenith, but strong policy support and limited private sector debt should allow most economies to grow at a healthy pace over the next two years. The US and China were among the fastest to recover to their pre-virus paths or even beyond, so it is no surprise that they are slowing first, whereas growth in the euro-zone and Japan has yet to peak. The spreading Delta variant is a risk, but mainly to Emerging Markets where vaccination is less advanced. As goods shortages ease, activity normalises, and commodity prices fall, most economies should see inflation drop back towards central bank targets and policy tightening will generally be more limited or come later than markets expect. Even in the US, where inflation is a bigger threat, we do not expect interest rate hikes until the first half of 2023.
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Global Economics Update

Has the pandemic permanently reduced the workforce?

The pandemic is still depressing the size of the labour force in many developed countries. This probably reflects a mixture of temporary and permanent factors, so some of it may yet be reversed. But even if the bulk of the reduction in the labour force persists, this does not alter the big picture that the overall lasting damage to economies’ supply capacity has been limited considering the scale of the downturn.

19 October 2021

Global Economics Update

Indeed Job Postings point to shortages intensifying

We think that Indeed job data are useful and timely indicators of labour demand, and we will continue to monitor them in the months ahead. The latest data support the view that labour shortages are rising, and are most acute in the US, Australia, and Canada.

18 October 2021

Global Economics Chart Book

Shortages limiting growth and boosting inflation

With shortages of goods and labour still dominating the news, and following our Focus research into global shortages, we have added a new page to the Global Economics Chart Book to monitor their evolution. While the global economy has continued to grow at a fairly healthy pace, businesses are reporting that shortages are limiting growth, particularly in advanced economies. Suppliers’ delivery times have continued to lengthen, backlogs of work are mounting and congestion at ports has increased. Most of the shortages should begin to ease in the year ahead, but shortages of labour could be relatively persistent. Staffing issues seem most pronounced in the US and UK, implying that the risk of sustained above-target inflation is also greatest in those economies.

14 October 2021

More from Global Economics Team

Global Economics Chart Book

Broad recovery continues, but Delta poses some risks

Global economic activity looks to have perked up recently, despite a slowdown in China and a slightly weaker re-opening bounce in the US than most had anticipated. The hard economic data have revealed further improvements in global industrial output and private consumption, and the business surveys remain strong even if many suggest that demand growth has peaked. Moreover, our Mobility Trackers have surged during the past two months. However, coronavirus infections seem to be at the start of another wave driven by the virulent Delta variant, which has become the dominant strain in numerous countries. (See Chart 1.) For economies where vaccination coverage is high, the early signs are that major vaccines are effective in preventing severe disease and death from the variant. But this leaves large parts of the emerging world facing the risk of renewed stringent lockdowns. And India’s experience of battling the variant suggests that this could be a substantial setback on the road to economic recovery.

15 July 2021

Global Inflation Watch

Inflation picture more nuanced than headlines suggest

While rising commodity prices and supply shortages are boosting inflation everywhere for now, the outlook is mixed. The boost from energy prices will fade soon as the anniversary of last year’s slump in the oil price passes. And while shortages of inputs including semiconductors, metals and lumber may persist for a bit longer, they should ease in time as supply recovers and consumption patterns normalise. However, some economies face greater risks of sustained inflation than others. Among the advanced economies, spare capacity is likely to be eliminated soonest in the US and signs of widespread labour market tightness are most pronounced there and in Australia. Among the EMs, strong recoveries in China and East Asia are doing little to generate prices pressures but the risks are greater in Central Europe.

21 June 2021

Global Economics Chart Book

Recoveries regaining pace after slow start to the year

Global GDP growth slowed sharply in Q1 as most parts of the world grappled with renewed waves of coronavirus. The US and Korea were among the few exceptions where recoveries accelerated. But with global infection numbers now falling, activity seems to be gaining momentum again. The Global Composite PMI rose to its highest level since April 2006 in May. What’s more, our high frequency COVID Mobility Trackers suggest that activity has risen sharply, particularly in Europe, as restrictions have eased. Other than in particular sectors such as motor vehicle production, there is little evidence so far that recent supply shortages are holding back output. But there are growing signs of inflationary pressure around the world, most notably in the US. Fears of higher inflation should prompt numerous central banks in emerging economies – especially in Central & Eastern Europe – to shift towards tighter monetary policy in the coming quarters. But central banks in major DMs will look through higher inflation this year and next.

11 June 2021
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