US fiscal cliff, EU debt crisis may drive new global recession: UN

New York: The United Nations has lowered global economic growth forecast for the coming two years even as it warned of a new global recession due to the US fiscal cliff situation and EU debt crisis.

It also said inflationary pressures and large fiscal deficit will limit the scope for policy stimulus in India. The UN's 'World Economic Situation and Prospects 2013' report released yesterday said growth of the world economy has weakened considerably during 2012 and is expected to remain "subdued" in 2013 and 2014.

GDP growth in South Asia is expected to average five percent in 2013. Reuters

The global economy is expected to grow at 2.4 percent in 2013 and 3.2 percent in 2014, a downgrade from the UN's forecast six months ago when the world body had predicted a 2.7 percent growth for 2013 and 3.9 percent for the year after.

Asia's growth engines, China and India, have also shifted into "lower gear". India, which had grown at 6.9 percent in 2011, will see its growth drop significantly to 5.5 percent in 2012. The growth rate is expected to pick up pace in 2013 when the Indian economy is forecast to grow by 6.1 percent and 6.5 percent in 2014, the report said.

"Both China and India face a number of structural challenges hampering growth. Given persistent inflationary pressures and large fiscal deficits, the scope for policy stimulus in India and other South Asian countries is limited," the report added.

GDP growth in South Asia is expected to average five percent in 2013, up from 4.4 percent of 2012, led by a moderate recovery of India's economy but still well below potential, the report added. Weaknesses in the major developed economies such as US and Europe are at the root of the global economic slowdown, it said.

The UN report warned that the pace of growth in the global economy would be far from sufficient to overcome the continued jobs crisis that many countries are still facing. "With existing policies and growth trends, it may take at least another five years for Europe and the US to make up for the job losses caused by the Great Recession of 2008-2009," it said.

"A worsening of the euro area crisis, the 'fiscal cliff' in the United States and a hard landing in China could cause a new global recession. Each of these risks could cause global output losses of between one and three per cent," UN's team leader for the report Rob Vos said.

Major developed economies, particularly those in Europe, are trapped in a vicious cycle of high unemployment, financial sector fragility, heightened sovereign risks, fiscal austerity and low growth, the report said.

Several European economies and the eurozone as a whole are already in recession, and eurozone unemployment increased further to a record high of almost 12 percent this year. According to the United Nations forecast, the euro area economy is expected to grow by only 0.3 percent in 2013 and 1.4 percent in 2014, a feeble recovery from the 0.5 percent decline in 2012.


Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 14:51 PM

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