Reposted from McKinsey Insights:
Leading forecasters estimate that the world economy will grow by between 2.8 and 3.8 percent this year—about one percentage point lower than last year’s consensus forecasts. Yet as monitors of the global economy lower their expectations for 2015, executives are increasingly focusing on opportunities presented by diverging growth rates among regions, countries, and even sectors. This means an essential element of strategic and financial planning for 2015 and beyond is taking closer account of critical regional trends and risks, with sensitivity to key economic indicators and government policy responses.
McKinsey’s Global Economics Intelligence (GEI) team closely tracks forecasts of leading financial institutions and multilaterals. By the latest estimate of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in October 2014, world GDP growth was measured at 3.3 percent for 2014.1 For 2016, the IMF and other organizations have lowered previous global GDP growth projections to 3.1 to 4.1 percent (Exhibit 1). Most forecasters expect a robust US economy to continue to lead the way, and the eurozone’s new program of quantitative easing is a sign the region is ready for expansion. And while falling oil prices weigh heavily on growth prospects for commodities-dependent Brazil and Russia, China and India are benefiting from easing inflationary pressures.
Even the lowered global-growth estimates of more than 3 percent in 2015 and 2016 remain well above the historical average of 1.8 percent annual growth during the past 50 years.5 But executives remain wary of macroeconomic and geopolitical risks, including oil and gas price volatility and its impact both on major exporting economies, Russia foremost, and on consuming economies, including Europe, Japan, and the United States. Other significant risks are the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, with its European and global ramifications; China’s downshifting economic pace, which has implications for global trade; the effects on foreign exchange levels and capital availability of diverging monetary-policy actions by central banks around the world; and Greece’s unresolved status in the eurozone, which raises significant questions about the economic future of Europe and the global economy.