Economic growth in 2017 significantly exceeded predictions in many areas and was virtually synchronous worldwide. As a result of these developments, some leading economic institutes now believe that the global economy has reached its growth potential and that it will now enter a phase of stabilization. For example, the World Bank1 is only predicting a marginal acceleration in the global GDP rate from 3.0 % in 2017 to 3.1 % in 2018. The OECD2 prediction for global economic growth is similar, with GDP now expected to grow at 3.7 % in 2018 compared to 3.6 % in 2017. This relatively stable global economic development, which is expected to last until 2019/20, is based mainly on the favorable financing conditions worldwide which, together with evenly-balanced and stable commodities prices, ultimately promotes investment and raises the underlying sentiment of most businesses. At the same time, it is becoming clear that assumptions also need to take account of a potential slowdown of the world economy due to factors such the ageing global population and declining productivity gains. For 2018, both the World Bank and the IWF3 forecast that the developed industrialized countries will continue to grow at a similar rate to the previous year and that the emerging and developing countries will achieve another slight increase. The IMF forecasts GDP-growth of 2.3 % in 2018 (2017: 2.3 %) for the developed industrialized countries as a whole. However, a general slowdown in economic growth is already expected within the individual industrialized countries, which will be offset only by a further significant increase in US GDP-growth to 2.7 % in 2018 compared to 2.3 % in 2017. For the emerging and developing countries, with GDP-growth forecast to rise to 4.9 % in 2018 (2017: 4.7 %), economic growth is gradually expected to peak. In China, on the other hand, the ongoing process of change embarked upon with a view to strengthening domestic demand on the basis of consumption and services is expected to result in a return to the trend towards a decelerating growth rate. The IMF and World Bank forecast GDP growth rates for 2018 of between 6.6 % and 6.4 %.
The World Bank and the IWF again point out clear forecasting risks in their pronouncements for 2018, which arise primarily from a sudden change in the favorable financing conditions and disruptions on the global financial markets.
1 Global Economic Prospects, January 2018
2 OECD Economic Outlook – No. 102, Update November 2017
3 World Economic Outlook, Update January 22, 2018