Global Economy: More Growth, Dearer Money
Global economic growth should remain strong in 2018, as both advanced and emerging economies enjoy a synchronized upturn.
According to Credit Suisse the global economy is likely to see sustained solid growth even as monetary policy becomes less accommodative. Global GDP growth should accelerate slightly to a pace of 3.8 percent, while global inflation is forecast to reach a benign 2.7 percent. In addition, corporate capital expenditure, having been restrained in recent years, will become a key growth driver going forward.
Watch the video on global economy featuring Oliver Adler, Head of Economic Research, CIO Office Switzerland:
Capex and Fiscal Policy as Additional Growth Drivers
Employment and consumption have been the key growth drivers in recent years, while low interest rates fostered a boom in real estate investment in a number of countries. Corporate capital expenditure was fairly subdued, however. With the overall growth outlook firming, business sentiment rising, labor markets tightening but profitability high, we expect corporate capex to become a key growth driver going forward.
Tax cuts and some fiscal easing in the USA and Germany, in particular, should also fuel growth. Global trade is likely to accelerate, outweighing protectionist tendencies.
Continued "Lowflation" as Base Case, but Some Upside Risks
Structural forces that favor disinflation, such as the "gig" economy, i.e. a labor market in which workers flexibly offer temporary services, remain in place. In specific sectors such as retail, the internet is increasing price transparency and pressuring margins. Moreover, inflation expectations are generally anchored at low levels.
Finally, a number of global industries are still suffering from excess production capacity. Nevertheless, as labor markets tighten in some countries, including the USA, Germany and Japan, stronger wage growth could lead to somewhat faster price rises. An upside surprise in commodity prices is an added risk factor.
Central Banks to Reduce Liquidity
The US Federal Reserve (Fed) embarked on a program of balance sheet reduction in October 2017. The European Central Bank (ECB) and others are set to wind down asset purchases in 2018. In late 2018, the cumulated balance sheets of the major central banks will thus begin to shrink. In the course of 2018, a number of major central banks are also likely to join the Fed in raising interest rates. In emerging markets, the phase of policy easing is nearing its end. Overall, global monetary policy will thus clearly turn less accommodative.