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February 28, 2019

Global Economy: Asynchronous world

  • The United States Federal Reserve maintained policy rates in its January meeting, but signaled a pause in future rate hikes
  • Euro zone annual growth slowed to a four-year low of 1.8% in 2018
  • China’s gross domestic product growth moderated to 6.6% in 2018, the slowest in three decades
  • Crude oil prices rebounded in January on output cuts by major oil producing countries

The ‘synchronous’ music pulsating through the global economy has more or less ground to adissonant halt. Recent growth projections are signalling quite the reverse in 2019. Growth inmost major economies is set to moderate. In January, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)1 revised down its global growth projections for 2019 and 2020 to 3.5% and 3.6%, respectively,from 3.7% in 2018. Key factors for the downward revision include increase in tariffs by theUnited States (US) and China, the lingering impact of weak growth momentum in the secondhalf of 2018, and lukewarm financial market sentiment. Risks to global growth are tilted tothe downside. These include escalation of trade tension, tighter financial conditions,deterioration in the risk sentiment, no-deal Brexit, and greater-than-expected Chineseeconomic slowdown.