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ING's July Monthly: The economic twilight zone

For the global economy, the first half of the year was packed with action. The remainder of the year will see a further weakening of the global economy, a rapid fall in headline inflation, and a dearth of central bank rate cuts

Our three calls for the remainder of 2023

For the global economy, the first half of the year was packed with enough action for an entire year. An energy crisis in Europe that was avoided thanks to a mild winter and fiscal stimulus. A reopening of China that is more sluggish and wobblier than hoped for. A banking crisis in the US and Switzerland which hasn’t ended in a global financial crisis as feared. Unprecedented central bank tightening and gradually retreating inflation, with the latter not necessarily the result of the former.

Against this backdrop, the age-old question of whether the glass is half-empty or half-full comes to mind. Should we cherish the current resilience of many economies and the financial system as things could have become much worse? Or should we moan about the missed opportunities, lacklustre growth and a still very long list of potential risks? As is so often the case, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Looking ahead, the risk for every forecaster is the temptation to spread optimism and predict an upturn of almost everything towards the end of the year (or the end of the forecast horizon as many traditional macro models do). We are more cautious. The fact that things didn’t get as bad as feared does not automatically lead to a return of optimism or a surge of economic activity. We have three major calls for the remainder of the year:

  • Further weakening and not strengthening of the global economy.
  • Headline inflation will retreat faster than central banks currently think.
  • Rate cuts are a 2024 but not a 2023 story.

Catch all of the details from our global team of economists and analysts in our latest Monthly Economic Update for an insight into what could be next for the global economy over the second half of the year.