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Global economy to edge up to 3.1 percent

Staff Writer |
The World Bank forecasts global economic growth to edge up to 3.1 percent in 2018 after a much stronger-than-expected 2017.

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The recovery in investment, manufacturing, and trade continues, and commodity-exporting developing economies should benefit from firming commodity prices.

However, this is largely seen as a short-term upswing. Over the longer term, slowing potential growth—a measure of how fast an economy can expand when labor and capital are fully employed—puts at risk gains in improving living standards and reducing poverty around the world, the World Bank warns in its January 2018 Global Economic Prospects.

Growth in advanced economies is expected to moderate slightly to 2.2 percent in 2018, as central banks gradually remove their post-crisis accommodation and as an upturn in investment levels off.

Growth in emerging market and developing economies as a whole is projected to strengthen to 4.5 percent in 2018, as activity in commodity exporters continues to recover.

2018 is on track to be the first year since the financial crisis that the global economy will be operating at or near full capacity.

With slack in the economy expected to dissipate, policymakers will need to look beyond monetary and fiscal policy tools to stimulate short-term growth and consider initiatives more likely to boost long-term potential.

The slowdown in potential growth is the result of years of softening productivity growth, weak investment, and the aging of the global labor force. The deceleration is widespread, affecting economies that account for more than 65 percent of global GDP.

Without efforts to revitalize potential growth, the decline may extend into the next decade, and could slow average global growth by a quarter percentage point and average growth in emerging market and developing economies by half a percentage point over that period.

Risks to the outlook remain tilted to the downside. An abrupt tightening of global financing conditions could derail the expansion.

Escalating trade restrictions and rising geopolitical tensions could dampen confidence and activity. On the other hand, stronger-than-anticipated growth could also materialize in several large economies, further extending the global upturn.

In addition to exploring developments at the global and regional levels, the January 2018 Global Economic Prospects takes a close look at the outlook for potential growth in each of the six global regions; lessons from the 2014-2016 oil price collapse; and the connection between higher levels of skill and education and lower levels of inequality in emerging market and developing economies.


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