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NEARLY two-thirds of the chief economists surveyed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) forecast a global recession in 2023, despite being optimistic about inflation and strong balance sheets.
There is a strong consensus that the prospects for growth this year are bleak, especially in Europe and the United States, said the report released by the WEF.
All of the chief economists surveyed predicted weak or very weak growth in 2023 in Europe, while 91% expect weak or very weak growth in the US.
“In China, expectations of growth are polarised, with respondents almost evenly split between those who expect weak or strong growth,” it said.
“Recent moves to unwind the country’s highly restrictive zero-Covid policy are expected to deliver a boost to growth, but it remains to be seen how disruptive the policy shift will be, particularly in terms of its health impacts,” it added.
On inflation, the chief economists see remarkable changes across regions, with most of them expecting high inflation in 2023, ranging from just 5% for China to 57% for Europe.
They also expect the tight monetary policy stance to remain constant in most of the world this year.
“With two-thirds of chief economists expecting a worldwide recession in 2023, the global economy is in a precarious position. The current high inflation, low growth, high debt and high fragmentation environment reduces incentives for the investments needed to get back to growth and raise living standards for the world’s most vulnerable,” said WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi.
“Leaders must look beyond today’s crises to invest in food and energy innovation, education and skills development, and in job-creating, high-potential markets of tomorrow. There is no time to lose,” she added.
Under the theme “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”, top figures shaping global politics and the business world will attend this week’s 53rd annual meeting of the WEF in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.
The meeting, which started Monday, will bring together more than 2,700 leaders from 130 countries, including 50 heads of state or government, as multiple crises deepen divisions and fragment the geopolitical landscape.
This year will also see the highest-ever business participation at Davos, with more than 370 public figures from governments and international organisations and over 1,500 business leaders and 90 innovators.
The meeting will also see the attendance of 56 finance ministers, 19 central bank heads, 30 trade ministers and 35 foreign ministers.