Has global economic growth reached its peak?

Over the past two years, the global economy has seen a strong and fairly broad-based recovery. Economic activity in developed economies – including the United States, Europe and Japan – accelerated amid a recovery in investment. Led by China, growth in East Asia remained strong; and several developing and transition economies emerged from recession as commodity prices gained ground.

But now there are emergent signs that global growth may have reached a peak and could start to moderate going forward. On the one hand, global indicators, such as industrial production and merchandise trade, are expanding less vigorously than in 2017. On the other, country-level indicators signal softening activity in many parts of the world economy, along with increased uncertainty and downside risks. While consumer and business surveys still paint a generally positive picture of current conditions, they show rising pessimism about the months ahead.

The recent worsening of expectations primarily reflects concerns in two main areas: international trade tensions and financial market stress. How the global economy will perform in 2019 strongly depends on how these risks play out. The pressure is on policymakers worldwide to ensure that the current challenges are addressed, and global growth stays on track.

You can find the November issue, with more details on these trends, here.

UN DESA’s Monthly Briefing on the World Economic Situation and Prospects is now in its 10th year of publication, bringing you the latest information on the global economy every month. The series is available at

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