(Bloomberg) — The world economy is showing signs of a rapid downshift as it contends with a series of shocks — some of them self-inflicted by policymakers — increasing the likelihood of another global recession and the danger of major financial disruptions.
“We’re living through a period of elevated risk,” former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers told “Wall Street Week” with David Westin on Bloomberg Television, for whom he is a paid contributor. “In the same way that people became anxious in August of 2007, I think this is a moment when there should be increased anxiety.”
At the heart of the strain: The fallout from the most aggressive hiking of interest rates since the 1980s. Having failed to foresee the surge in inflation to multi-decade highs, the Federal Reserve and most peers are now lifting rates at speed in a bid to restore price stability and their own credibility.
Evidence of the impact — and of the blow to consumers’ purchasing power from soaring prices — is mounting quickly. In the past several days, Nike Inc. reported a surging stockpile of unsold product, FedEx Corp. shocked with a warning on delivery volumes and key chipmaker South Korea saw the first drop in semiconductor output in four years as demand retreats. Apple Inc. is backing off plans to boost output of its new iPhones, Bloomberg reported.
The turn is coming even before the full thrust of monetary tightening is felt. The Fed and many counterparts are pledging to keep going with steep rate hikes as they attempt to rebuild credibility. Quantitative tightening programs, where central banks remove liquidity by shrinking bond portfolios, are also just getting going.
Inflation data showcase the need for, as Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard put it Friday, “avoiding pulling back prematurely” on tightening. She spoke shortly after the Fed’s preferred measure of prices jumped more than forecast. Earlier, data showed euro-zone inflation has punched into double-digits.
Layered on top of continuing reverberations from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the spreading economic gloom is sowing fear in financial markets, creating its own worrying dynamic. A rapidly appreciating dollar, supercharged by the Fed, may help cool US inflation, but it drives it up elsewhere by weakening other currencies — pressuring authorities to restrain their own economies.
“The global economy is in the eye of a new storm,” Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said Friday after lifting rates again.
Prospects for a second global recession so soon after the 2020 downturn triggered by the pandemic were hardly apparent a year ago. But Europe’s Russian-induced energy crisis, and China’s deepening property slump and continued Covid-Zero approach weren’t part of the consensus outlook.
Not all is dark, with US job-market resilience a notable feature. But the plans by Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. for the first reduction in headcount ever illustrate how that may still change.
And Britain’s experience in recent days showcases how investors are in a mood to punish policymakers pursuing approaches deemed unsustainable. The Bank of England was forced to intervene in its bond market after the new UK government announced $45 billion of unfunded tax cuts.
What Bloomberg Economics Says…
“Forecasts of a soft landing for the global economy assume something close to perfect policy execution. The events of the last week demonstrate the reality can be very different.”
“The opportunity for further fumbles — after the UK’s fiscal fail and market meltdown — is high. And the cost, if they occur, higher.”
–Tom Orlik, chief economist.
“Markets are concerned about fiscal policies becoming even looser despite inflation, or the dollar, getting excessively strong,” said Cui Li, head of macro research at CCB International Securities Ltd.
Nike’s troubles showed how the dollar’s appreciation is causing issues not just for developing nations that issued debt in the US currency — Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Argentina are among those turning to the IMF for help — but also for American multinational companies.
The athletics-wear giant on Thursday downgraded its outlook, citing foreign-exchange effects and higher freight costs, which are a symptom of supply-chain delays and port congestion. That’s besides the need to embrace price markdowns given unsold stock. North American inventories climbed 65% in the three months through August.
Housing markets are also turning, walloped by surging mortgage rates. The US in the past week saw the first decline in home prices in a decade.
“The question is how low growth will go, and for how long it will stay down,” said S&P Global Chief Economist Paul Gruenwald.
Perhaps the biggest X-factor is the potential for financial turmoil as the dollar, which has appreciated almost 14% this year as measured by the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, exerts pressure across markets.
Combine that with rapid increases in borrowing costs, and it spells the potential for trouble. Summers, the ex-Treasury chief, said “You can never be certain about what the consequences of that will be.”
That has echoes of the summer of 2007, when the impact of the collapsing US housing market first began showing up in the financial system, with the closure of a number of funds and sudden liquidity shortfalls among banks. Things eventually morphed the following year into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Rising anxiety across global markets can be seen in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch GFSI Market Risk indicator, a measure of future price swings implied by options trading on equities, interest rates, currencies and commodities.
The gauge has jumped to the highest since March 2020, when markets were in full-blown pandemic panic.
Given the need to address inflation, diminished fiscal space in the wake of record spending on the pandemic, and varying priorities across major economies, the potential for joint action to address challenges may be in question.
“The incoherent macro policies within countries and absence of policy coordination across countries are both problematic,” said Cui Li at CCB.
It all makes for a potentially tension-filled gathering of global finance chiefs next week for the annual International Monetary Fund and World Bank Oct. 10-16 in Washington.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
Surprise Growth Makes South Africa’s Economy Bigger Than Before Pandemic Struck – BNN Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s economy is bigger than before the coronavirus pandemic struck, after growing faster-than-expected in the third quarter on increased farm output.
Gross domestic product expanded 1.6% in the three months through September, compared with a contraction of 0.7% in the previous quarter, Statistics South Africa said Tuesday in a report released in the capital, Pretoria. The median of 12 economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey was for growth of 0.4%. The economy grew 4.1% from a year earlier.
Full-year growth may also surprise on the upside. The central bank forecasts an expansion of 1.8% and the National Treasury 1.9%. For the nine months through September, an early indicator of where full-year growth may land, GDP grew by 2.3% from last year.
The 2.3% expansion in the first three quarters is a “reasonable indicator” of the annual number, said Joe de Beer, deputy director-general of economic statistics at the agency. “I can’t see it differing by more than” half a percentage point “from just a mathematics point of view,” he said.
“After taking into account the firmer-than-expected third-quarter figure, we expect growth to average closer to 2.5% in 2022, before slowing to just above 1% next year,” said Sanisha Packirisamy, an economist at Momentum Investments.
At an annualized 4.6 trillion rand ($265 billion) in the third quarter, GDP is about 53 billion rand bigger than the fourth quarter of 2019, before the pandemic struck. A contraction in the prior three months had reversed gains made in the first quarter that made it bigger.
The quarterly expansion comes even after Africa’s most-industrialized economy experienced record power cuts because state electricity utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. couldn’t keep pace with demand from its old and poorly maintained plants. Industries behind the better-than-expected growth were agriculture and transport, which grew 19.2% and 3.7% quarter-on-quarter respectively.
Strong exports of mineral, vegetable and paper products also contributed.
Still, South Africa’s economy remains stuck in its longest downward phase since World War II and hasn’t grown by more than 5% annually in 15 years. The government’s National Development Plan, a 2012 economic blueprint co-authored by President Cyril Ramaphosa, says that level of expansion is needed for sustainable job creation in a nation where almost a third of the workforce is unemployed.
Slow structural reforms, political uncertainty and high levels of crime continue to weigh on fixed-investment spending in South Africa, with private companies wary of committing large sums of money to domestic projects. Gross fixed capital formation climbed 0.3% from the previous quarter.
Household spending, which comprises about two-thirds of GDP, declined 0.3% in the third quarter. It’s likely to come under further strain from high inflation and interest rates that are at a level last seen more than five years ago.
Weak growth is forecast for the final quarter because of continued rolling blackouts and a strike over wages that took place at Transnet SOC Ltd., South Africa’s state-owned logistics company that operates most of the harbors in the nation, in October. The central bank forecasts expansion of 0.1% this quarter.
Lackluster economic growth and mounting price pressures pose a threat to social stability in one of the world’s most unequal societies and may stymie efforts to reduce fiscal deficits and debt.
–With assistance from Simbarashe Gumbo and Rene Vollgraaff.
(Updates with economist comment in paragraph five. An earlier version corrected household spending figure in paragraph 11)
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
World Economy Heads for One of Its Worst Years in Three Decades – BNN Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) — The world economy is facing one of its worst years in the three decades as the energy shocks unleashed by the war in Ukraine continue to reverberate, according to Bloomberg Economics.
In a new analysis, economist Scott Johnson forecasts growth of just 2.4% in 2023. That’s down from an estimated 3.2% this year and the lowest — excluding the crisis years of 2009 and 2020 — since 1993.
However, the headline figure is likely to mask diverging fortunes, with the euro area starting 2023 in recession and the US ending the year in one. By contrast, China is projected to expand more than 5%, boosted by a faster-than-expected end to its zero-tolerance Covid strategy and support for its crisis-hit property market.
Differences will also be on display when it comes to monetary policy after a year in which central banks “dashed toward restrictive territory in a pack,” Johnson wrote.
“In the US, with wage gains set to keep inflation above target, we think the Fed is headed toward a terminal rate of 5%, and will stay there till 1Q24. In the euro area, meanwhile, a more rapid decline in inflation will mean a lower terminal rate and the possibility of cuts at the end of 2023.”
In China, where authorities are torn between a desire to support the recovery and concern about the weakness of the currency, “limited” rate cuts are on the cards.
Read more: Global Growth Set to Slow From 3.2% in 2022 to 2.4% in 2023
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
Securing good jobs, clean air, and a strong economy – Prime Minister of Canada
Autoworkers have been a keystone of the Canadian economy for generations. By investing in the future of the auto industry, we are not only securing good middle-class jobs, we are fighting climate change, and building an economy that works for generations to come.
Since January alone, Canada has secured several historic manufacturing deals for electric vehicles (EVs), hybrids, and batteries – deals that will create and secure thousands of good, middle-class jobs and provide the world with clean vehicles. Today, we are seeing the results of one of those deals start to roll off the line.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was joined today by Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, to open Canada’s first full-scale EV manufacturing plant, General Motors of Canada Company’s (GM) CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Starting today and going forward, the plant will build fully electric delivery vans – the BrightDrop Zevo 600 – which will help cut pollution and keep our communities healthy for our children and grandchildren.
Thanks in part to a $259 million investment from the Government of Canada, GM’s CAMI assembly plant was able to retool its operations to build these electric vans. By 2025, the plant plans to manufacture 50,000 EVs per year. This investment has helped secure thousands of well-paying, high-quality jobs across GM facilities, and is helping advance the electrification of Canada’s automotive sector.
The Government of Canada will continue to work to attract investment from companies around the world as we build our EV supply chain – from mining critical minerals to manufacturing batteries, and vehicles. By taking action today, we are positioning Canada as a global leader in EVs, fighting climate change, securing good jobs, and building an economy that works for all Canadians – now and into the future.
“When we invested in GM’s project to build Canada’s first full-scale electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, we knew it would deliver results. Today, as the first BrightDrop van rolls off the line, that’s exactly what we’re seeing. This plant has secured good jobs for workers, it is positioning Canada as a leader on EVs, and will help cut pollution. Good jobs, clean air, and a strong economy – together, that’s the future we can build.”
“Today is proof that our historic investments in EV manufacturing are paying off. With the first BrightDrop vans coming off the assembly line, we’re seeing the skill of Canadian workers making a huge difference as the world moves to EVs. Our government, in partnership with GM, is cementing Canada’s leadership in the EV supply chain.”
“This milestone represents GM at our best – fast, flexible and first in the industry. The BrightDrop Zevo is a prime example of GM’s flexible Ultium EV architecture, which is allowing us to quickly launch a full range of electric vehicles for our customers. And, as of today, I am proud to call the CAMI EV Assembly team the first full-scale all-electric manufacturing team in Canada.”
“This is a very exciting moment – a revolution in the way we transport people and goods. Today marks a huge day for BrightDrop, as we expand our footprint and begin producing the Zevo electric vans at scale, and a huge milestone for Canada on the road to a brighter future. Opening the CAMI plant is a major step in providing EVs at scale and delivering real results to the world’s biggest brands, like DHL Express, who will be our first Canadian customer.”
- The Government of Canada’s $259 million investment supports GM’s more than $2 billion project to reignite production at its Oshawa assembly plant, after operations stopped in 2019, and transform its CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll.
- The investment is being made through both the Strategic Innovation Fund and its Net Zero Accelerator Initiative.
- The Government of Ontario made a matching contribution of up to $259 million toward the project.
- Founded in 1918, General Motors of Canada Company (GM) is one of the largest automotive manufacturers worldwide. It is headquartered in Oshawa, Ontario, and is one of Canada’s largest automotive manufacturers.
- GM is planning to introduce 30 new electric vehicles by 2025, eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035, and become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040.
- The automotive sector contributes $16 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product and is one of the country’s largest export industries.
- The automotive sector supports the employment of nearly 500,000 Canadians.
- The 2030 Emissions Reductions Plan, released in March, puts Canada on track to achieving our goal of cutting emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 while continuing to build a strong economy.
- To make zero-emission vehicles more affordable and accessible, the Government of Canada offers incentives of up to $5,000 off the purchase or lease of a light-duty zero-emission vehicle through the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program. Since May 2019, close to 176,000 Canadians have taken advantage of this program.
- Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested $400 million in building approximately 35,000 zero-emission vehicle charging stations across the country.
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