Lights, camera, action: Navigating the economic landscape

As we unveil the latest Economic Outlook Report from Allianz Research, it's clear that navigating the global economy is akin to following a blockbuster movie plot: full of twists, challenges, and moments of anticipation. What we will see is a nuanced storyline for the global economic landscape in the coming years.
The script for global growth forecasts a modest +2.7% expansion for 2024-25, which is down slightly from +2.8% in 2023. The outlook reveals a stable performance in advanced economies, with a growth rate holding at +1.6% in 2024, but a slight slowdown to +4% for emerging markets, primarily driven by dynamics in Asia (excluding the Association of South East Asian Nations) and Latin America. A notable subplot is the narrowing performance gap between the U.S. and Europe, hinting at a convergence in their economic narratives from the second half of 2024 onwards.
The global trade narrative is exiting its recessionary phase, with a forecasted rise in global trade in goods and services of +3.0% in volume terms for 2024 and a slight uptick to +3.1% in 2025. However, an overstocked inventory scene limits this recovery, acting as a drag on both corporate investments and trade flows. Amidst this, geopolitical tensions loom as potential plot twists, adding layers of complexity to the recovery's pace.
In a much-anticipated twist, central banks are set to pivot in mid-2024, shifting toward easing monetary policies. The Federal Reserve (Fed) eyes a total of 100bps in rate cuts by the end of 2024, with the European Central Bank (ECB) expected to initiate cuts even earlier. This shift serves as a critical turning point, potentially alleviating some economic pressures while also influencing currency dynamics, especially the euro's performance against the dollar.
Investors, like captivated audiences in a movie theater, are navigating a complex plot. With expectations of a policy pivot by the second half of 2024, the fixed income and equity markets are set against a backdrop influenced by reflation, geopolitical tensions, and advancements in technology. Despite a cautious optimism, the narrative remains tense, with long-term interest rates anticipated to decline modestly, constrained by supply-side factors and higher terminal rates.
Corporates find themselves in a subplot filled with challenges as they confront a waning pricing power amidst slowing consumer demand. The narrative forecasts a +9% rise in global business insolvencies for 2024, presenting a daunting obstacle for businesses, especially those in highly leveraged sectors. Yet, there's a glimmer of hope, as lower interest rates ahead suggest that the corporate debt-repayment scenario might be less dire than feared.
Inflation, much like a persistent antagonist in our story, continues to challenge economies, particularly through services prices. However, the plot may see a twist as disinflationary trends emerge, promising some relief by mid-2024.

As our economic plot unfolds, it's clear that the path forward is both challenging and filled with potential. Central banks' policy pivots, trade recovery, and corporate adaptation are key themes that will shape the economic storyline. While uncertainty remains, understanding the main themes can provide clarity and insight into what the future might hold.

For a deeper dive, you can download the entire report here.

The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with around 125 million* private and corporate customers in nearly 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 737 billion euros** on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage about 1.7 trillion euros** of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2023, over 157,000 employees achieved total business volume of 161.7 billion euros and an operating profit of 14.7 billion euros for the group.
* Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.
** As of December 31, 2023.
As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements:
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