How far away is a global recovery?

Content Type
Working Paper
Institution
Oxford Economics
Abstract
Steep drops in output have been recorded across the industrialised world and much of the emerging market world in recent months. Such has been the scale of these declines that there is now little doubt that the global economy is set for its worst year since the end of WWII, with world GDP forecast to fall almost 1½% (and more than 2% at 2000US$). Significant uncertainties nevertheless remain about the economic outlook, in particular about how deep and protracted the recession will prove to be and how rapid an eventual recovery can be expected. A key factor generating uncertainty is that the current recession has been sparked by and accompanied by a major financial crisis. Recessions of this sort are often more severe than 'standard' recessions, featuring deeper and more sustained drops in asset prices, and a weaker impact from policy interventions due to malfunctioning banking systems. Equity and house prices have continued to drop in the early part of 2009, and there looks to be a significant risk that this weakness will drag on for some time – the average duration of stock price declines in previous financial crises is more than three years and for house prices around six years. The financial sector also remains in a highly dysfunctional state. Although the credit tightening process is showing some signs of coming to an end, stress levels remain extremely elevated and risk appetite is low with banks stuck in 'balance sheet repair mode'. This process is unlikely to be complete for some time. Retrenchment has also become a priority for the corporate and household sectors. In the face of a plunge in final demand, firms have slashed investment and begun destocking. Worryingly, the destocking process could continue f or several quarters as the ratio of inventory to sales remains high. US households were net re payers of debt in the final quarter of 2008, and it seems unlikely that the appetite to take on more debt will recover quickly there or elsewhere in the face of steep increases in unemployment and large falls in household wealth. Taylor rule analysis suggests that the 'appropriate' short-term interest rate for the major economies has now turned negative, supporting the big shift to quantitative easing now under way. Eventually, this and other stimuli in the pipeline should produce a strong recovery. But the outlook for 2010 has weakened significantly in recent weeks and the risks remain skewed toward a more deflationary outcome than that envisaged by our baseline forecast.
Topic
Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
Political Geography
United States