Global Economic Prospects

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Global Economic Prospects is a World Bank Group flagship report that examines global economic developments and prospects, with a special focus on emerging market and developing economies. It is issued twice a year, in January and June. The January edition includes in-depth analyses of topical policy challenges while the June edition contains shorter analytical pieces. Commodity Markets Outlook is now released as its own report, also contained in this collection.

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  • Publication
    Global Economic Prospects, January 2024
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-01-09) World Bank
    Note: Chart 1.2.B has been updated on January 18, 2024. Chart 2.2.3 B has been updated on January 14, 2024. Global growth is expected to slow further this year, reflecting the lagged and ongoing effects of tight monetary policy to rein in inflation, restrictive credit conditions, and anemic global trade and investment. Downside risks include an escalation of the recent conflict in the Middle East, financial stress, persistent inflation, weaker-than-expected activity in China, trade fragmentation, and climate-related disasters. Against this backdrop, policy makers face enormous challenges. In emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs), commodity exporters face the enduring challenges posed by fiscal policy procyclicality and volatility, which highlight the need for robust fiscal frameworks. Across EMDEs, previous episodes of investment growth acceleration underscore the critical importance of macroeconomic and structural policies and an enabling institutional environment in bolstering investment and long-term growth. At the global level, cooperation needs to be strengthened to provide debt relief, facilitate trade integration, tackle climate change, and alleviate food insecurity.
  • Publication
    Commodity Markets Outlook, October 2023: Under the Shadow of Geopolitical Risks
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-10-30) World Bank
    The conflict in the Middle East—the latest of an extraordinary series of shocks in recent years—has heightened geopolitical risks for commodity markets, in an already uncertain global environment. Before the conflict began, voluntary oil supply withdrawals by OPEC+ producers pushed energy prices up 9 percent in the third quarter. As a result, the World Bank’s commodity price index rose 5 percent over that period and is now 45 percent above its 2015-19 average. For now, the war’s impact on commodity prices have been muted. Prices of oil and gold have risen moderately, but most other commodity prices have remained relatively stable. Nevertheless, history suggests that an escalation of the conflict represents a major risk that could lead to surging prices of oil and other commodities. A Special Focus section provides a preliminary assessment of the potential impact of the conflict on commodity prices. It finds that the effects of the conflict are likely to be limited, assuming the conflict does not widen. Under that assumption, the baseline forecast calls for commodity prices to decline slightly over the next two years. If the conflict does escalate, the assessment also includes what might happen under three risk scenarios, relying upon historical precedents to estimate the effects of small, moderate, and large disruptions to the global oil supply. The magnitude of the effects will depend on the duration and scale of the supply disruptions.
  • Publication
    Global Economic Prospects, June 2023
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-06-06) World Bank
    Global growth is projected to slow significantly in the second half of this year, with weakness continuing in 2024. Inflation pressures persist, and tight monetary policy is expected to weigh substantially on activity. The possibility of more widespread bank turmoil and tighter monetary policy could result in even weaker global growth. Rising borrowing costs in advanced economies could lead to financial dislocations in the more vulnerable emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs). In low-income countries, in particular, fiscal positions are increasingly precarious. Comprehensive policy action is needed at the global and national levels to foster macroeconomic and financial stability. Among many EMDEs, and especially in low-income countries, bolstering fiscal sustainability will require generating higher revenues, making spending more efficient, and improving debt management practices. Continued international cooperation is also necessary to tackle climate change, support populations affected by crises and hunger, and provide debt relief where needed. In the longer term, reversing a projected decline in EMDE potential growth will require reforms to bolster physical and human capital and labor-supply growth.
  • Publication
    Commodity Markets Outlook, April 2023: Lower Prices, Little Relief
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-04-27) World Bank Group
    Global commodity prices fell 14 percent in the first quarter of 2023, and by the end of March, they were roughly 30 percent below their June 2022 peak. The unwinding of prices reflects a combination of slowing economic activity, favorable winter weather, and a global reallocation of commodity trade flows. Commodity prices are expected to fall by 21 percent this year and remain mostly stable in 2024, although the outlook is subject to multiple risks in a highly uncertain environment. These risks include intensification of geopolitical tensions, the strength of demand from China following its post-COVID reopening, likely energy supply disruptions, and weather conditions, including the emerging El Niño. A Special Focus section evaluates the performance of several approaches used to forecast prices of seven industrial commodities. It finds that futures prices, which are widely used for price forecasts, often lead to large forecast errors. Time-series models based on multiple independent variables tend to outperform other model-based approaches as well as futures prices. Machine-learning techniques yield better forecasts than some of the traditional approaches. The analysis suggests that augmenting model-based forecasting approaches—by incorporating the dynamics of commodity prices over time and controlling for other economic factors—enhances forecast accuracy.
  • Publication
    Global Economic Prospects, January 2023
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-01-10) World Bank
    Global growth is projected to decelerate sharply, reflecting synchronous policy tightening aimed at containing very high inflation, worsening financial conditions, and continued disruptions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Investment growth in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) is expected to remain below its average rate of the past two decades. Further adverse shocks could push the global economy into recession. Small states are especially vulnerable to such shocks because of the reliance on external trade and financing, limited economic diversification, elevated debt, and susceptibility to natural disasters. Against this backdrop, it is critical that EMDE policy makers ensure that any fiscal support is focused on vulnerable groups, that inflation expectations remain well anchored, and that financial systems continue to be resilient. Urgent global and national efforts are also needed to mitigate the risks of global recession and debt distress in EMDEs, and to support a major increase in EMDE investment.
  • Publication
    Commodity Markets Outlook, October 2022: Pandemic, War, Recession : Drivers of Aluminum and Copper Prices
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-10-26) World Bank Group
    A sharp global growth slowdown and concerns about an impending global recession are weighing on commodity prices. Some energy prices remain elevated, however, amid geopolitical tensions and persistent supply disruptions. Brent crude oil prices are forecast to average $92/bbl in 2023 and ease to $80/bbl in 2024. Agricultural and metal prices are projected to decline 5 and 15 percent, respectively, in 2023 before stabilizing in 2024. The outlook is subject to multiple risks in a highly uncertain environment. They include worsening global growth prospects, including the pace of recovery in China; macroeconomic uncertainties; a prolonged and deeper conflict in Ukraine; and, in the case of food commodities, the ongoing La Niña weather pattern along with trade policies. A Special Focus section investigates the drivers of aluminum and copper prices. It finds that the price rebound after the pandemic was mainly driven by the economic recovery, but supply factors also contributed about one-quarter to the rebound. Since March 2022, a steep global growth slowdown, an unwinding of supply constraints, and concerns about an imminent global recession contributed to the plunge in metal prices. It concludes that for metal exporters, the energy transition may bring windfalls, but it could also increase their exposure to price volatility.
  • Publication
    Global Economic Prospects, June 2022
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-06) World Bank
    The world economy continues to suffer from a series of destabilizing shocks. After more than two years of pandemic, the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and its global effects on commodity markets, supply chains, inflation, and financial conditions have steepened the slowdown in global growth. In particular, the war in Ukraine is leading to soaring prices and volatility in energy markets, with improvements in activity in energy exporters more than offset by headwinds to activity in most other economies. The invasion of Ukraine has also led to a significant increase in agricultural commodity prices, which is exacerbating food insecurity and extreme poverty in many emerging market and developing economies. Numerous risks could further derail what is now a precarious recovery. Among them is, in particular, the possibility of stubbornly high global inflation accompanied by tepid growth, reminiscent of the stagflation of the 1970s. This could eventually result in a sharp tightening of monetary policy in advanced economies to rein in inflation, lead to surging borrowing costs, and possibly culminate in financial stress in some emerging market and developing economies. A forceful and wide-ranging policy response is required by policy makers in these economies and the global community to boost growth, bolster macroeconomic frameworks, reduce financial vulnerabilities, provide support to vulnerable population groups, and attenuate the long-term impacts of the global shocks of recent years.
  • Publication
    Commodity Markets Outlook, April 2022: The Impact of the War in Ukraine on Commodity Markets
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-04-26) World Bank Group
    The war in Ukraine has caused major supply disruptions and led to historically higher prices for a number of commodities. Most commodity prices are now expected to see sharp increases in 2022 and remain high in the medium term. The price of Brent crude oil is projected to average $100/bbl in 2022, a 40 percent increase from 2021. Non-energy prices are expected to rise by about 20 percent in 2022, with the largest increases in commodities where Russia or Ukraine are key exporters. Wheat prices in particular are forecast to increase more than 40 percent this year. While price pressures are expected to ease in 2023, commodity prices will remain much higher than previously expected. The outlook depends on the duration of the war and the severity of disruptions to commodity flows. A Special Focus section investigates the impact of the war on commodity markets and compares the current episode with previous price spikes. It finds that previous oil price spikes led to the emergence of new sources of supplies and reduced demand in response to efficiency improvements and substitution to other commodities. In the case of food, new land was made available for food production. For policymakers, a short-term priority is providing targeted support to poorer households facing higher food and energy prices. For longer-lasting solutions, they facilitate investment in new sources of zero-carbon energy.
  • Publication
    Global Economic Prospects, January 2022
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-01-11) World Bank
    The global recovery is set to decelerate amid diminished policy support, continued COVID-19 flare-ups, and lingering supply bottlenecks. In contrast to that in advanced economies, output in emerging market and developing economies will remain markedly below pre-pandemic trends over the forecast horizon. The outlook is clouded by various downside risks, including new COVID-19 outbreaks, the possibility of de-anchored inflation expectations, and financial stress in a context of record-high debt levels. If some countries eventually require debt restructuring, this will be more difficult to achieve than in the past. Climate change may increase commodity price volatility, creating challenges for the almost two-thirds of emerging market and developing economies that rely heavily on commodity exports and highlighting the need for asset diversification. Social tensions may heighten as a result of the increase in inequality caused by the pandemic. These challenges underscore the importance of strengthened global cooperation to promote a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery path.
  • Publication
    Commodity Markets Outlook, October 2021
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-10-21) World Bank Group
    Commodity prices have risen to high levels by historical standards. Energy prices have increased sharply, especially for natural gas and coal, while most non-energy prices have plateaued after steep increases earlier in the year. Crude oil prices are forecast to average $74/bbl in 2022, up from a projected $70/bbl in 2021. After registering more than 48 percent increase this year, metal prices are projected to decline 5 percent in 2022. Agricultural prices, which are projected to rise more than 20 percent this year, are expected to broadly stabilize in 2022. These forecasts are subject to substantial risks, from adverse weather, further supply constraints, or additional outbreaks of COVID-19. Energy prices are particularly at risk of additional volatility in the near-term given low inventory levels. A Special Focus section explores the impact of urbanization on commodity demand. Although cities are often associated with increased demand for energy commodities (and hence greenhouse gas emissions) the report finds that high-density cities, particularly in advanced economies, can have lower per capita energy demand than low-density cities. As the share of people living in urban areas is expected to continue to rise, these results highlight the need for strategic urban planning to maximize the beneficial elements of cities and mitigate their negative impacts.