🖤 Donations of all sizes power our public service journalism Give Now

IMF predicts steady global growth that’s still low by historical standards

Stephanie Hughes Apr 16, 2024
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
IMF chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas speaks during a press briefing at the IMF-World Bank Group spring meetings at IMF headquarters in Washington D.C., on Tuesday. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

IMF predicts steady global growth that’s still low by historical standards

Stephanie Hughes Apr 16, 2024
Heard on:
IMF chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas speaks during a press briefing at the IMF-World Bank Group spring meetings at IMF headquarters in Washington D.C., on Tuesday. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The global economy continues to show quote “remarkable resilience.” Those are the words of the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist in a press conference on Tuesday around the release of the Fund’s World Economic Outlook. The IMF says it expects global growth to hold steady this year at 3.2%. That’s a rosier forecast than the institution had just a few months ago, an upward revision of 0.1% from January, and comes despite global conflicts and an uneven recovery from the pandemic.

Economists seem somewhat surprised by the resilience of the global economy, almost like it’s a student who everyone expected to do poorly on a test.

“It sounds like the world is falling apart. But somewhat remarkably, the world economy is doing not too badly,” said Eswar Prasad who is a professor of economics at Cornell and used to work at the IMF. He points out some economies like India and the U.S. are really zipping along, while for others, like the U.K. and Germany, “It’s really much more of a meh story.”

But one driver of resilience even in those “meh” economies? Stock markets are doing pretty well. And Prasad says that, combined with a slight bump in consumer confidence, “is stoking pretty robust consumption by households.”

Still, the IMF’s projected pace of growth this year and next is low by historical standards. Karen Mathiasen with the Center for Global Development says this is partly to do with the the ongoing wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

“It makes investors nervous, right. I mean, if you’re just a global investor, and you see this happening, you’re going to want to pull back and be in safer assets,” said Mathiasen.

And a lot of those safer assets also have pretty decent returns right now, like U.S. Treasuries. Mathiasen says those high interest rates here are limiting growth abroad.

“So if, for example, we were at near zero interest rate levels as we’ve been in the past, there would be a real search for yield. So there would be more appetite for riskier debt,” she said.

And, she says, if investors hold off on putting their money into riskier ventures in the developing world, that means there’s less potential for growth overall.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.