Global economy to undergo sharp slowdown: World Bank. Global growth is expected to slow sharply in the face of elevated inflation, higher interest rates, reduced investment, and disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report. The Washington-based global lender lowered almost all its forecasts for advanced economies, downgrading its growth outlook for the global economy to 1.7 percent for 2023. The organisation earlier projected the world economy to expand by three percent in 2023. As a result, “further negative shocks” — from higher inflation and even tighter monetary policy to an uptick in geopolitical tensions — could be enough to trigger recessionary conditions, the World Bank said.
Eurozone unemployment at record low. The eurozone jobless rate remained unchanged at a record low in November even though many economists predict the economy is moving closer to a recession, official data revealed Monday. The rate of unemployment in the 20 countries that share the euro currency remained at a record low of 6.5 percent in November for the second consecutive month, according to preliminary by Eurostat. For the whole of the EU, unemployment also remained unchanged in November at six percent, also a historic low. The November unemployment numbers defy predictions for a sharp downturn on the continent among economists, who have expected that high prices for natural gas and other fuels would hit the economy hard. In the meantime, European gas prices have fallen below the pre-Ukraine war levels.
US inflation falls to lowest level in more than a year. A highly anticipated report released by the US Labour Department on Thursday showed a modest decrease in US consumer prices in the month of December. The consumer price index fell by 0.1 percent, matching estimates. That was the biggest monthly decline since April 2020. The so-called core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy items, also met expectations with a 0.3 percent. gain. On a year-over-year basis, the index rose by 6.5 percent, still well above the Federal Reserve’s two percent inflation target, though down from 7.1%. The data point to more signs that inflation is easing and may pave the way for the Fed to ease monetary policy hawkishness.
China consumer inflation accelerates in December. China's annual consumer inflation rate accelerated in December, driven by climbing food prices even though domestic demand weakened amid subdued economic activity during the month. China’s CPI rose by 1.8 percent from a year earlier in December, up from November’s 1.6 percent year-on-year increase, the National Bureau of Statistics said. The result was in line with the 1.8 increase expected by economists. For the full year, the CPI rose two percent from 2021, below an official target of around three percent. China made a turnaround from its strict zero-Covid measures last month, lifting lockdowns, removing quarantine and suspending regular testing. As a result, economists expect inflation to continue to accelerate in the first quarter of this year.
Australia inflation not yet beaten. The November monthly inflation reading surprised on the upside with a stronger-than-expected rise, even as the Reserve Bank of Australia has been raising interest rates in an attempt to control price increases. The monthly year on year CPI rose by 7.3 percent in the year to November, which was back up from 6.9 percent in October to the same reading in September. "High jet fuel prices combined with strong consumer demand pushed airfare prices up, with accommodation prices also rising," said Michelle Marquardt, ABS Head of Prices Statistics.
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