LONDON | By Barclays analysts | 2014 was supposed to be different. After three years of disappointment, this was meant to be the year when the global economy had a broader, higher and more persistently solid level of growth – at least, this was the consensus narrative. In the end, the seasonally adjusted quarterly rate of global growth in Q1 was among the weakest of the recovery. US growth was near zero (probably negative after revisions) and China’s GDP growth was below already low forecasts.
China (which grew by 7.7% in 4Q13) wants to pursue a very different strategy in 2014, setting “reasonable growth” as its macroeconomic goal, meaning by that a rate that will support the country’s economic restructuring and upgrading. But such a technical description fails to meet society’s real needs and achievements, and so new alternative models are booming.
LONDON | By Barclays analysts | We expect Europe to experience a long period of moderate economic growth, coupled with very low inflation: for the EU28, GDP should grow 1.5% in 2014 and accelerate to 1.7% in 2015, while inflation should bottom at 1.2% in 2014 before edging up slightly, to 1.4%, in 2015.
Iris Mir | During the last decade China’s food imports grew by 21% a year. The country is running out of arable land where to farm basic food like grains and cereals or where to grow its cattle. So it’s going abroad to acquire millions of hectares of land from other countries.
Iris Mir | China starts a new round of economic experimentation. Shanghai is set to become the new engine of growth with a China’s first Free Trade Zone (FTZ). The goal is to attract foreign investment by testing new deregulation rules that should give foreign companies greater flexibility. But urgent reforms in other areas are a must in order to transform the rise of the income of Chinese households into real purchasing power.
Iris Mir | By mid-June the National Audit Office of China released a report unexpectedly detailing the debts of 36 local governments. It unveiled the chilling figure of 3.3 trillion dollar in debt, by the end of 2012. A 13% higher than in 2010. Furthermore, the lack of stimulus investment plans is fuelling scepticism among those who expected the Asian dragon to keep the world economy afloat. Mostly because the priority for China now is to reorient its model of growth with ambitious programs like the new Co2 emissions exchange.
WASHINGTON | By Pablo Pardo | There is a silver line: Spain is reducing the fiscal consolidation’s impact on its economic growth.
MADRID | By JP Marín Arrese | As we move into troubled waters following the FED intention to taper off its massive asset buying scheme, the ECB is bound to take bold steps to protect both the European economies and the common currency. Otherwise we may run into severe turbulences in the coming months.
China turns into a urban nation. A transformation that entails a dramatic achievement and a challenge without precedents in the world. As cities become better places to live they become more expensive too, to the extent that people can’t afford the luxury of inhabiting these mega-cities. Without a fairer model, which fosters job creation and an equal access to resources, urbanization risks undermining the country’s transition towards domestic consumption.
MADRID | By Javier Flores, analyst at Asinver | The question, of course, is how long it will take for the curve to head downwards. No expansion lasts for ever.