World economic outlook for 2011.
With continued questions as to the efficacy of bailout efforts and concerns regarding sovereign debt levels for many developed economies, 2011 does beckon to be quite an interesting time. Uncertainty regarding continued market appetites to continue purchasing new sovereign debt could cast a pall over markets in the coming months as countries' debt to GDP ratios continue to climb. The possibility of drastic commodity and oil price increases are also making news and could cause a drag on growth or possibly foment unrest, as has already been seen in Tunisia,Yemen, and Egypt with 2011 barely beginning.
Even with these trends in place, estimates of global GDP in 2011 anticipate global growth ranging from a high estimate of 4.6 percent to a low of 2.3 percent (Chart 1), with an average of the forecasts evaluated of 3.7 percent. At this rate, the world economy is expected to grow faster in the second decade of the 21st century than it did in the first decade at about 3.7 percent (Chart 1). Signs of continued recovery are making themselves known through positive changes in other key macroeconomic indicators such as private consumption, gross fixed investment, and world trade that by the end of 2010 had surpassed their pre-crisis levels. World trade has rebounded with a strong recovery in 2010, and trade growth is expected to remain solid (Chart 2) over the next two years (OECD 2010).
By region, economic progress is far from being homogeneous. According to Goldman Sachs, the U.S. is expected to have substantial increases in real GDP growth over the next two years to a 4.0 percent pace by early/mid-2012.The IMF's World Economic Outlook (IMF 2010) predicts that the EU will exhibit 1.5 percent growth in 2011, but will show significant variability among member nations. Germany, the Nordic countries, and Belgium are expected to perform at the end (above 2.0 percent), while most of Southern Europe Ireland are expected to have real GDP growth at a rate less than 1.0 percent, with some possibly even contracting in size. The United Kingdom and France are expected to perform in the middle range at 1.5-2.0 percent.
The IMF has stated that China is expected to continue to grow in 2011 at 10.0 percent a year mostly due to export activity. China also faces issues to overcome with increasing housing prices and inflation becoming problematic.
The Chinese government is trying to decrease inflationary pressures by increasing bank reserves in an attempt to increase interest rates. By increasing the opportunity costs of investing, China is trying to keep the economy from overheating, which could unfavorably affect other major developed markets.
By tightening its monetary policy, China would follow in the steps of other Asian countries that have already responded to inflationary pressures by increasing interest rates. Malaysia increased its benchmark rate three times starting in March 2010, Taiwan began in June 2010, and South Korea in July 2010 (Yanping 2011).
While China is attempting to slow down its economic activity, we might see varied growth on the other major Asian fronts. China's GDP is expected to grow at a 9.1 percent rate versus 9.5 percent in 2010, while India will see its GDP expand at a 7.9 percent rate, up from 7.7 percent in 2010. Other parts of Asia, especially Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand) will have GDP growth of 5.1 percent, down from 6.1 percent in 2010 (Conference Board 2011). Much of the Asian expansion comes from their growing manufacturing capability and expanding domestic markets.
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In Japan, according to Tokuoka's IMF working paper (2010), the possibility of the collapse of Japan's government bond market remains unlikely. The country's debt obligations are protected from serious threats by a low foreign participation in the public debt market, a stable domestic savings base, and healthy current account surplus, which have countered the need to attract external funding sources (Tokuoka 2010). It remains possible that in the future the Japanese-specific features sustaining the bond market, such as high private savings, home bias, and stable institutional investors due to the lack of alternatives to yen-denominated assets, might erode as the population ages and the workforce declines.
Again looking at The Conference Board's (2011) GDP estimates, Latin America is expected to grow at a slower pace in 2011 at 4.1 percent versus 5.8 percent in 2010. The Middle East and Africa will see faster GDP growth, expected to be 5.1 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, up from 3.5 percent and 4.8 percent in 2010.
A Changing Landscape
The next decade will likely witness changes in the sources of global growth. Advanced economies as a group will account for less than 1.0 percentage point of global GDP growth from 2010-2020; 3.4 percentage points will come from emerging economies (Table 1). China and India will account for half of global growth from 2010 2020, at 1.7 percentage points and 0.6 percent age point, respectively. To offer another perspective, the rate at which emerging and developing countries will grow is expected to be more than three times higher (6.3 percent per year on average) than in advanced economies (1.9 percent per year on average). In a more pessimistic scenario, due to high inflation, asset bubbles, and/or large fluctuations in capital flows, these economies could reduce contribution to the global growth by almost 2.0 percentage points.
Moreover, there might be shifts in the distribution of world output. The predicted acceleration of global growth is not going to be driven by faster GDP growth in overall regions. Based on estimates from Table 1, the world growth rate will accelerate as emerging and developing economies increase their share of global production from about 40.0 percent in 2000, to 50.0 percent 10 years later in 2010, to about 60.0 percent in 2020.
As seen in Chart 3 using The Conference Board data, the U.S. is forecast to lose up to 8.0 percentage points in global GDP share in the next two decades (from 23.0 percent to 15.0 percent), while the original 15 EU member countries might lose as much as 10.0 percentage points (23.0 percent to 13.0 percent) during that time frame. China's portion of global output share doubled from 8.0 percent in 2000 to 16.0 percent in 2010 and is expected to possibly rise to 24.0 percent in 2020. India might also double its portion of global output share (from 4.0 percent in 2000 to 8.0 percent in 2020), but its overall impact on global growth will be much smaller than China's (Chen 2010).
PricewaterhouseCoopers recently published "The World in 2050," a forecast discussing the issue of divergent growth rates and possible consequences of current growth trends. In their scenario, by 2050, both India and China would produce more than the U.S. in terms of real GDP at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) (Table 2). More surprising is the appearance of some developing economies not generally included in discussions, such as Mexico, Indonesia, and Brazil on the top ten list in terms of real output. Admittedly, 2050 is a number of years away, but one need not look over that distant a time horizon to see a possible shakeup in world production rankings.
In the same PricewaterhouseCoopers publication, it was forecasted that as soon as 2018 China will have greater Real GDP at PPP rates than will the U.S.
If these trends continue, it will undoubtedly be important for individuals and investors to try to discern how this will play out on the world stage in terms of the balance of world power and how it could affect financial assets and investment.
U.S. and Western hegemony will likely be threatened in coming years if GDP growth trends continue. Signs of this scenario are evident in current times and in recent news from financial markets. FollowingWorldWar II and the BrettonWoods agreement, the U.S. dollar effectively became the currency for international business and the world's reserve currency. In the past few months, there have been signs that some transactions previously taking place in U.S. dollars will be changing in how these transactions are settled. In December 2010, Russia started explicitly trading the ruble versus the renminbi and likely more important, it was agreed that Russia would start settling its bilateral trade of about $50 billion yearly with China in their respective currencies (Forsyth 2010), which previously was transacted in U.S. dollars. Not only are individual countries with sizable economies deciding to settle transactions directly in each other's currencies, the IMF has also started issuing debt denominated in the renminbi, the Chinese currency (Lin 2011 ). While these two moves individually may not signal the end of the U.S. dollar's dominant use in international transactions, it does signify a possible demarcation of a general trend toward its lessening importance.
Sovereign debt levels will almost certainly continue to be an issue in 2011. With many governments continuing to run deficits to finance spending they will be forced to continue borrowing to meet their obligations. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of money that governments owe compared to the level of Real GDP. It is contended that as debt levels rise compared to Real GDP levels, the ability of governments to tax and successfully service or pay off debt is compromised. In 2010 some of the European Union member countries with the unflattering acronym PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) all had issues with market confidence in their continuing service of their debt. Even after German-led EU bailouts, the problem still seems to linger as the EU solvency remains in question. Overall, these high debt levels compared to GDP seem to be more an issue for developed countries (and the G7 in particular, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, and the U.S.), as shown in Chart 4.
Chart 5 contains some selected individual countries' sovereign debt levels compared to GDP for 2010.What might be more interesting to some is that Japan's debt to GDP is markedly higher at over 200.0 percent, and Japan has yet to have a real crisis servicing its debt. This debt issue is possibly due to cultural differences in Japan, where there is a much higher personal savings rate than in other countries. In looking back at some news events from 2010, the PIIGS' debt to GDP ratios do not vary significantly from those of some other large countries-including the U.S.--which have not had issues. With continued government deficits forecast for many of these countries, it will be interesting to see how the sovereign debt issues play out over 2011 and the coming years.
Commodities prices are forecast to have another record year following a short respite after 2008 highs. Continued money creation by central banks along with worldwide supply and demand issues should help fuel increases in commodity prices in 2011.
Food prices are expected to rise in 2011 and have shown inflationary pressures over the last portion of 2010 in anticipation of this trend. Chart 6 shows annual food price indices as estimated by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
As shown, most of the indices peaked in 2008 with the exception of cereals, which has shown a steady increase throughout. The other food indices halted their increases in 2009 before rebounding in 2010. While the firgures shown in Chart 6 are annual indicators, when looking at the series on a monthly basis, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's index of world food prices rose 32.0 percent in the second half of 2010, topping the peak of June 2008 (Bjerga, 2011). The USDA's January crop outlook offered more bad news, reducing estimates for production of both corn and soybeans (Meyer, Blas, and Farchy 2011). With what seems to be a converging situation of growing global demand for food and recent supply problems, prices may have nowhere to go but up during the year.
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Rising food prices are of particular interest in that the last time food prices were at this level, there were riots in some developing countries over the price of food. These rising prices could signal the possibility of more social unrest in 2011 if food prices do continue to rise. There has already been recent unrest in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, and Mozambique, at least partially due to the rising food prices. In context, protests and unrest during the 2008 spike were not isolated, as Mexico, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Haiti, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Senegal all had incidents occur (Walt 2008 and Riots 2008). While many of the countries discussed above are considered developing, food price increases would not spare those with lower incomes in more developed nations, as the poor spend a higher percentage of their income on food. This possible situation would lead to further strapped pocketbooks for many, with the unemployment rate remaining stubbornly high in many countries.
Foodstuffs are not the only commodities forecast to rise in 2011, as there seems to be upward price pressure on cotton also. Not only could there be food price increases, but clothes could also become more expensive. In perspective, world cotton prices have recently rallied to price levels that have not been seen since the American Civil War (Pastor 2011). Cotton inventories had been kept low due to weak demand during the economic downturn. This past summer, new cotton crop output was crippled due to flooding in Pakistan and bad weather in China and India, all major cotton producers. With low existing inventories, a year where there was poor crop production worldwide, and with the uptick in the economy in recent months, these factors seem to be converging, driving prices notably higher (Clifford 2010).
In addition to food and cotton prices, oil prices are also expected to be increasing this year. As oil prices directly relate to input prices in producing virtually all goods and services, this relationship could imperil the fragile worldwide recovery if there is a significant energy price shock. Oil and gasoline prices are at the highest levels in two years, with analysts reporting that prices could markedly increase this year as usage grows in the U.S. and around the world. The former head of Shell Oil has warned that gas prices could hit $5 a gallon in the U.S. by 2012 due to emerging markets such as China and India having growing demand (Hill 2011). Tancred Lidderdale, an economist with the Energy Information Administration, confirms this information regarding demand: "Global demand is running at record levels" (Shenk 2011). While $5 a gallon may be a higher end estimate for gasoline prices, some lower end estimates are near $3.75 a gallon (Hill 2011).
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Unemployment Issues in 2011
It is interesting to note that the recovery in GDP growth during 2010 was not coupled with a comparable recovery in employment. In its latest economic outlook report, the OECD warned that its 33 member countries' recovery will likely be slow and uneven (on average 2.3 percent next year), with unemployment remaining "persistently high" into the future, as shown in Chart 7. At the end of a major financial crisis, it is relevant to determine how much of the resulting slack is structural and how much reflects insufficient demand.
The very concentrated nature of unemployment in the U.S., high-income Europe, and developing Europe and Central Asia suggests that some significant portion of current joblessness may be structural in nature. IMF (2010) estimates that between 1.0 and 1.75 percentage points of the 3.5 percent labor force increase in unemployment since August 2008 may be structural unemployment. Similarly, Fujita (2010) finds that the extension of unemployment benefits has caused workers to remain that would have otherwise left the labor force, raising the reported unemployment by between 0.9 and 1.7 percent labor force.
The World Bank data show that in the EU the majority of the net job losses between 2008 and 2009 occurred in the construction and manufacturing sectors. In Russia, for instance, almost two-thirds of the two million jobs lost during that time were in manufacturing and construction. The World Bank's economist Sergei Ulatov stated with confidence that Russia could not return to the pre-crisis unemployment rate because "the economy is not absorbing enough labor to make a sustained dent in the unemployment rate" (World Bank, 2010). In addition, a large number of Russia's enterprises are carrying out modernization and making efforts to increase their efficiency, which might lead to more decreases in work force. The World Bank economist did not forecast the return of unemployment rates to the pre-crisis levels by Russia or any of the Eastern European and Central Asian countries.
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Also from the World Bank, there is a geographic concentration of job losses in Europe, with Spain accounting for over a third of all EU job losses between 2008 and 2009. Germany is doing better with an unemployment rate that is actually lower now than it was in August 2008. On the other hand, Greece, Slovak Republic, Ireland, and Spain are forced to face an unemployment rate 4.0 percentage points higher than the rate was two years ago.
According to the International Labour Organization (2011), with continued vunerabilities in the financial sector, the labor market will remain fragile in many countries during the recovery. The global unemployment rate is projected to improve slightly over 2010 levels and drop to 6.1 percent in 2011, which corresponds to an depressing 203.3 million unemployed.
2011 and Beyond
If a policy environment remains rather uncertain, it is increasingly important for the developed countries to pursue domestic policy objectives in a manner that supports adjustments and minimizes potential negative consequences on the global economy. Abiad, et al. (2009) report the longer-term economic consequences of recessions.
Specifically, on average for countries directly involved in a financial crisis, potential output was 7.0 percent lower than it would have been in the absence of the crisis a decade after the crisis occurred. A World Bank (2010) study examining the impact of past financial crises indicated that even for countries not directly involved, scarce capital and higher borrowing costs could reduce potential output growth rates by as much as 0.5 percentage points for several years, resulting in a reduction in potential output of about 4.0 percent.
It would appear that 2011 and beyond will be anything but dull as the market corrections following the U.S. housing crisis reverberate through the world economy. With rising debt to GDP ratios in many countries and 2010 containing more than one government having problems servicing their debt, 2011 will be a good year to watch the financial news to see what countries will feel the uncomfortable situation of either decreasing spending levels or increasing taxes to meet their obligations. The global shift in production and economic power is almost certain to continue as many developing countries are individually expected to grow at a faster rate than are developed Western economies, actually more so following the 2008 crisis. Commodity prices appear as if they will be an issue for everyone worldwide, with cotton, food, and oil prices set to have a bullish year based on inflationary pressures and supply and demand factors.
Obviously, these are truly interesting times.
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Hill, Patrice. "Dramatic Spike in Gas Prices Forecast." Washington Times, January 2, 2011. Accessed January 13, 2011, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/ jan/2/dramatic-spike-in-gas-prices-forecasted/.
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The recent earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan undoubtedly will have marked consequences for their domestic economy and the world. Japan has carried the world's largest debt to GDP ratio in recent years. An extended slowdown in economic activity could harm Japan's ability to continue to service its debt with increased domestic spending and deficits to fund the recovery effort. This domestic issue also could impact the U.S.' ability to continue deficit spending, since Japan is one of the world's largest holders of U.S. Treasury debt. A sell off or extended stoppage of purchasing new Treasury issues could drastically impact the U.S. economy and force the Federal Reserve to take policy action.
The ongoing situation with the nuclear reactors in Japan also casts a pall of uncertainty over nuclear power's future, which has been viewed as a long-term alternative to fossil fuels that have seen drastic price increases in recent months. While the human devastation has been tragic and hard to fathom, the significance for global markets should not be downplayed. This natural disaster should serve as a reminder that a single, unforeseeable event can impact the global economy at a moment's notice.
Egypt is proving to be one of the first victims, at least partially, of the increasing commodity prices, with social unrest among those least able to afford increasing commodity prices.
Not only could this situation have dramatic effects on Egypt's economy, but approximately 8.0 percent of the world's seaborne freight travels the Suez Canal each year. Also, between the Suez Canal and the SuMed pipeline, 4.9 million barrels of oil a day traverse the country, which is approximately 5.5 percent of the world's output (Wearden 2011). Disruptions to these critical avenues of world trade due to social unrest could be substantial and are certainly situations to watch.
by Ioana Sofia Pacurar, Research Association and Jay K. Walker, Research Associate, Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Fogelman College of Business & Economics, The University of Memphis
Ioana Sofia Pacurar
Ms. Pacurar received her BD in Economic Studies fi'om the University of Babes-Bolyai, Cluj Napoca, Romania, and pursued advanced studies in European Trade anti Law. Sofia obtained a MS ill Statistics, Operations, and Management Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While a graduate student at the University of Tennessee, she taught and was involved in devehlping teaching materials for intermediate to advanced classes in Lean Operations and developed simulations for the Executive Education Program. She obtained a Graduate Certilicate in Applied Statistical Strategies in May 2004.
Ms. Pacurar is currently a PhD Candidate in Economics at the University of Memphis. Her interests lie in the area of applied microeconomics with a focus on the Economics of Health and Aging as well as Econometric Strategies of Program Evaluation.
Jay K. Walker
Jay Walker is a PhD Candidate in Economics at the University of Memphis. His fields of interest include Applied Microeconomics, Public Economics, and Labor Economics. He is currently employed in the role of Research Associate at the Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Memphis following two years serving as the Nathan Associates Research Fellow at their local office.
Table 1. Global Outlook for Growth of Real Gross Domestic Product, 2000-2020 2000-2010 Contribution GDP to World Growth GDP Growth U.S. 1.6 0.3 EU-15 1.2 0.2 Japan 0.7 0.0 Other Advanced 3.0 0.3 Economies * Advanced Economies 1.6 0.9 China 11.4 1.3 India 7.6 0.3 Other Developing 5.1 0.2 Asian Economies Latin America 3.2 0.2 Middle East 4.8 0.2 Africa 5.1 0.1 Central and 3.5 0.1 Eastern Europe Russia and Other CIS 4.9 0.2 Emerging Market and 6.4 2.7 Developing Economies World 3.7 2010-2015 Projected Contribution GDP to World fimmah GDP Growth U.S. 1.8 0.3 EU-15 1.3 0.2 Japan 0.9 0.0 Other Advanced 2.9 0.2 Economies * Advanced Economies 1.7 0.8 China 9.2 1.6 India 8.3 0.5 Other Developing 5.1 0.3 Asian Economies Latin America 4.0 0.3 Middle East 4.5 0.2 Africa 4.7 0.1 Central and 3.3 0.1 Eastern Europe Russia and Other CIS 3.2 0.1 Emerging Market and 6.3 3.3 Developing Economies World 4.1 2015-2020 Projected Contribution GDP to World Growth GDP rowth U.S. 2.5 0.4 EU-15 1.7 0.2 Japan 1.5 0.1 Other Advanced 2.7 0.2 Economies * Advanced Economies 2.2 0.9 China 7.9 1.7 India 9.1 0.6 Other Developing 6.0 0.3 Asian Economies Latin America 3.8 0.3 Middle East 5.3 0.2 Africa 5.9 0.2 Central and 3.0 0.1 Eastern Europe Russia and Other CIS 3.1 0.1 Emerging Market and 6.4 3.6 Developing Economies World 4.6 2010-2020 Projected Contribution GDP to World Growth GOP-Growth U.S. 2.2 0.3 EU-15 1.5 0.2 Japan 1.2 0.1 Other Advanced 2.8 0.2 Economies * Advanced Economies 1.9 0.9 China 8.6 1.7 India 8.7 0.6 Other Developing 5.5 0.3 Asian Economies Latin America 3.9 0.3 Middle East 4.9 0.2 Africa 5.3 0.2 Central and 3.2 0.1 Eastern Europe Russia and Other CIS 3.2 0.1 Emerging Market and 6.3 3.4 Developing Economies World 4.4 * Other advanced economies include Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Israel, Iceland, Cyprus, Korea, Australia, Taiwan Province of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and New Zealand. Note: The percentage contributions to global growth are computed as log differences and, therefore, do not exactly add up to the percentage growth rate for the world economy. Source: The Conference Board. Table 2. GDP at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) Rankings Projected PPP GDP at PPP PPP GDP at PPP Rank (Constant 2009 Rank (Constant 2009 2009 Country U.S. $Billions) 2050 Country U.S. $Billions) 1 U.S. $14,256 1 China $59,475 2 China 8,888 2 India 43,180 3 Japan 4,138 3 U.S. 37,876 4 India 3,752 4 Brazil 9,762 5 Germany 2,984 5 Japan 7,664 6 Russia 2,687 6 Russia 7,559 7 U.K. 2,257 7 Mexico 6,682 8 France 2,172 8 Indonesia 6,205 9 Brazil 2,020 9 Germany 5,707 10 Italy 1,922 10 U.K. 5,628 Source: World in 2050, PricewaterhouseCoopers, January 2011. Chart 1. Forecasted Global Real GDP Growth, 2011 Scotia Bank 4.2% IMF 4.6% World Bank 3.3% Conference Board 4.2% United Nations 3.1% Wells Fargo 2.6% Nomura 4.3% Deutsche Bank 4.0% UBS 3.7% Roubini 2.3% ING Investment Mgt. 3.8% OECD 4.2% Average 3.7% Note: Table made from bar graph. Chart 3. Distribution of World Output 2010 and Predictions for 2020 Central and Eastern Europe 3.7% Russia and Other CIS 3.9% U.S. 14.8% EU-15 14.4% Japan 4.2% Other Advanced Economies 7.0% China 24.1% India 8.0% Other Developing Asian Economies 5.7% Latin America 7.7% Middle East 4.4% Africa 3.1% Note: Table made from pie chart. Chart 5. Gross Debt to GDP Ratio, Selected Countries, 2010 Belgium 100.0 France 84.0 Germany 75.0 Greece 130.0 Ireland 94.0 Italy 118.0 Japan 226.0 Portugal 83.0 Spain 63.0 U.K. 77.0 U.S. 93.0 Hungary 78.0 Source: Willem Buiter, Ebrahim Rahbari, Jurgen Michels, and Giada Giani, "Global Economics View: The Debt of Nations," Citigroup Global Markets, January 7, 2011. Note: Table made from bar graph.
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|Author:||Pacurar, Ioana Sofia; Walker, Jay K.|
|Article Type:||Statistical data|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2011|
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