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November 27 2012, 10:17PM

PARIS, Nov 27 AFP - Global growth is set for a sharp slowdown and the eurozone debt crisis "remains the greatest threat to the world economy at present", the OECD has warned.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said in its latest Economic Outlook, drafted before the eurozone and IMF unblocked almost 44 billion euros ($A55.00 billion) in emergency loans for Greece: "A hesitant and uneven recovery is projected over the next two years."

The organisation slashed its outlook for the 34-member area in 2013 to 1.4 per cent from a previously expected level of 2.2 per cent.

Another threat to business activity worldwide is a potentially catastrophic budget standoff in the United States, where automatic tax increases and spending cuts are to take effect in January unless there is a compromise solution between Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

The OECD downgraded its growth estimates for this year and next for the United States and Japan, and its data showed that the eurozone recession could be deeper than last forecast in May.

The 17-nation bloc is "projected to remain in or near recession until well into 2013", the report said.

Overall the 34-member organisation's economies are expected to expand by 1.4 per cent in 2012 and 2013, and then pick up to a pace of 2.3 per cent in 2014.

Unemployment is forecast to rise from 8.0 per cent this year to 8.2 per cent in 2013 before easing back to 8.0 per cent in 2014.

Inflation should decline meanwhile, from 2.1 per cent in 2012, to 1.7 per cent next year, and then edge up to 1.9 per cent in 2014.

"Economic prospects are very uncertain and highly dependent on the risks associated with the nature and timing of policy decisions related to the euro area crisis, (and) the US fiscal cliff," OECD analysts said.

They pointed to falling household and business confidence that led to a payoff of debts and said the climate was also morose because "unemployment is set to remain high or even rise further in many countries".

Emerging economies such as those in Brazil, China and India, which are not OECD members, would fare better, but were nonetheless subject to "spillover from the euro area crisis" that has contributed to a decline in global trade growth "to very weak rates".

"World trade will strengthen only gradually" over the next two years, the OECD estimated.

A breakdown of the forecasts put growth in the US economy, the world's biggest, at 2.2 per cent this year and 2.0 per cent in 2013, compared with the previous forecast in May of 2.4 and 2.6 per cent.

For Japan, gross domestic product (GDP) is now expected to expand by 1.6 and 0.7 per cent this year and next, down from 2.0 and 1.5 per cent, while the eurozone economy is tipped to contract by 0.4 and 0.1 per cent.

That compared with the earlier OECD eurozone estimate of a eurozone decline of 0.1 per cent this year and growth of 0.9 per cent in 2013.

Outside the OECD, growth in Brazil from 2012 to 2014 was put at 1.5, 4.0 and 4.1 per cent, in China at 7.5, 8.5 and 8.9 per cent, and in India at 4.4, 6.5 and 7.1 per cent.

The eurozone should have the highest unemployment, with rates of 11.1 per cent and 11.9 per cent of the workforce, an increase from the earlier forecasts of 10.8 and 11.1 per cent.