For the world economy, 2022 has been a terrible year. The combined hits from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s Covid-19 lockdowns and property correction, and amped-up Federal Reserve tightening will take global growth for the year down to 3.1%, way below expectations of a recovery-boosted 4.7% at the start of the year.
Could 2023 be worse? Absolutely.
Bloomberg Economics’ base case for global growth in 2023 is 2.4%. A deeper energy crunch in Europe, an earlier and more painful recession in the US, or more pandemic restrictions and an uncontrolled slide in real estate in China could conspire to make even that uninspiring number unattainable.
Drawing on scenarios from Bloomberg Economics’ country teams and using a suite of models to calculate spillovers between countries, we estimate that in a downside scenario global growth in 2023 could slide to -0.5%. Taken with the weak number for 2022, that would shave more than $5 trillion off global income relative to expectations at the start of this year.
Where’s the Bottom for Global Growth?
It is, of course, not a surprise that an exercise aimed at estimating a global downside scenario should arrive at a big negative number. Still, our studies show how easily the outcome for the year ahead could slip below already-lackluster expectations, as well as the extremity of the impact if negative shocks collide and compound.
In the US, our base case is that the labor market has sufficient strength and households' sufficient spending power to keep growth going until the second half of 2023. That puts growth in 2022 at 1.8% and 2023 at 0.7%. It could be worse. If a sharp housing market correction—with knock-on effects on the financial system—pulls the recession forward into 2022, that would subtract substantially from growth.
In Europe, we assume that a seasonally cold winter, gas sharing across countries, and significant support for businesses and households will allow the economy to get through the energy crisis with only a shallow recession.
In China, our baseline forecast assumes the government manages a smooth exit from Covid Zero and dodges a catastrophic real estate collapse. That puts growth at 3.2% in 2022 and 5.7% in 2023—with the end of Covid-19 controls contributing a one-time boost to the 2023 number. Things could easily go off track. More lockdowns in major cities, or a bigger-than-expected drag from the property, could subtract 3.5 percentage points from 2023 growth.
Considered in isolation, those shocks would already be bad enough. When major economies stumble, though, the impacts are not confined within their borders. Trade, financial, and commodity price spillovers all mean that shocks in the US, Europe, and China ripple around the world.
Drawing on a suite of macro models, Bloomberg Economics has estimated the aggregate impact if everything goes wrong at the same time. Unsurprisingly, the results aren’t pretty.
For the US, the combination of the domestic hit from Fed tightening and spillovers from a deeper European recession and sharper Chinese downturn take 2023 growth down to -1.8%. In the euro area, 2023 gross domestic product contracts by 4.1%. For China, hopes for a bounce back in the year ahead are dwindling, with GDP rising just 2.1%.
From the 2000's we learned that not all issues in an economic cycle are held under lock and key and are not always seasonal, especially in something as widespread as energy and tradelines thus we will continue to be tactical when it comes to buying COMPANIES that have favorable growth conditions and financials instead of just risk-targeted FUNDS solely with the purpose for "diversification".
It is our opinion that we are not out of the woods yet, and we will continue to oscillate between our risk-neutral and risk-positive models over the next 6-12 months unless we see some dramatic changes in the economic future.