- The World Economic Forum’s most-recent Chief Economists Survey shows most expect a recovery of global GDP to its pre-COVID-19 level by the first half of 2022.
- Respondents see the largest risk of scarring from a delayed wave of bankruptcies.
- They also expect the largest conflict potential internationally arising from cyberattacks.
- For the climate transition, a significant number believe that 2050 is not ambitious enough for net-zero targets.
Soaring stock markets and rising commodity prices give the impression that the fortunes of the global economy are looking up. One by one, institutions revised upward their global growth forecasts for this year, following the announcement of generous recovery spending by the US government in the spring.
Respondents to the World Economic Forum’s most-recent Chief Economists Survey see the growth rate for 2021 about 6%, and most expect a recovery of global GDP to its pre-COVID-19 level by the first half of 2022.
And yet, behind these numbers, some countries are experiencing dramatic new waves of the virus; people are still processing 18 months of ill health, grief and stress; millions of workers have dropped out of the global labor force; job openings are going unfilled across high-income economies; and a number of risk factors could yet delay or derail even the aggregate rebound.
At the same time, new upsides are coming into view for firms and workers who are emerging from the pandemic year with a renewed commitment and leeway to invest into green technologies and green skills. If policy can set the right framework conditions to unlock private green investments at scale, the longer-term growth rate might yet turn out to be much healthier than the currently forecast 1.5% growth for advanced economies in 2025.
In the coming months, leaders will be challenged to carefully navigate the rough waters of transitioning from emergency support to more targeted, transformative spending – and finding the right policy mix that will overcome domestic polarization without further exacerbating global divergences.