GLOBAL ECONOMIC RESEARCH

INSIGHTS, TRENDS AND CASE STUDIES

Global inflation remains high and showing no signs of easing, placing pressure on household finances. For Australia, we have lowered our GDP forecast for this year and next, upped our near-term inflation outlook and incorporated a new, front loaded rate track for the RBA.

We now expect the global economy to grow by around 3.4% in 2022 and 2023. For Australia, we continue to be optimistic on the economy expecting above-trend growth this year and ongoing strength in the labour market.

The global economic outlook remains clouded by numerous factors, however, we expect that the global economy will grow by 3.7% in 2022 and then slow to a trend- like 3.5% in 2023. For Australia, GDP is expected to grow by a strong 3.4% this year – supported by healthy growth in consumption and ongoing gains in business investment.

Globally, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has caused a significant spike in energy prices – reflecting the importance of Russia in the production and export of oil, natural gas and coal, in combination with limited additional supply elsewhere. Locally, the war in Europe poses risks on both the activity and nominal sides of the economy, uncertainty is now highly elevated – but the central-case for Australia’s economy largely remains strong.

Globally the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has spread rapidly; the sheer number of cases is disrupting economic activity as infected workers are forced to isolate. In Australia, we have revised up the expected rebound in Q4 GDP, but pulled down Q1 2022 as the spread of omicron weighs on the economy through both consumer caution as well as disruption to business.

For Australia the Q3 national accounts showed a smaller hit to activity than we had expected but we continue to see a very strong snap back in activity in Q4. Globally, advanced economy growth was robust in Q3, and a similar outcome is expected in Q4 albeit with a shift in the source of growth away from Europe towards the US and Japan.

We have trimmed our global economic forecasts this month to 5.7% for 2021, however should this occur, it would still be the strongest rate of growth since 1973. For Australia, our internal data and NAB Monthly Business Survey indicate the economy is again rebounding strongly as NSW and Vic reopen following the extended lockdowns through mid-2021.

We have revised our global economic forecasts lower – to 5.9% for 2021. For Australia, a very sharp fall in activity in Q3 is locked in however we continue to expect a solid rebound in Q4 , and strong growth continuing into early 2022.

COVID 19 remains the main risk to the global economic outlook, while in Australia the key risks to our forecasts remain the timing and pace of the easing in restrictions, and further out, the underlying pace of growth as the impact of policy measures fades.

Due to lockdowns, we expect to see a large hit to activity in Australia in Q3. Our global growth forecast for 2021 is marginally weaker this month, 6.2% compared with 6.3% previously.

Friday was all about US payrolls and the report did not disappoint. Along with solid employment gains, there were improvements in the other metrics of the US labour market edging us one step closer to a Fed tapering announcement. Market reaction to the data saw the UST curve bear steepened with the 10y UST Note testing 1.30% while the USD ended the day broadly stronger.

COVID-19 remains the most significant risk for our global outlook. While in Australia, the current virus outbreak in NSW and associated lockdowns/border closures highlights the uncertainty around economic forecasting at present.

High frequency indicators continue to point to a recovery in the global economy in early 2021. In Australia, the economic recovery continues at a brisk pace with forward indicators pointing toward ongoing strength in activity and the labour market, even as some fiscal support is wound back.

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