Launch of the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017

19 Jan 2017
Bangkok, Thailand

The World Economic Situation and Prospects is a joint product of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the five United Nations regional commissions, including Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The report will highlight that global economic growth of 2.2 per cent in 2016 was the slowest rate of growth since the Great Recession of 2009. The period of slow growth is characterised by weak investment, dwindling trade and flagging productivity growth. For the outlook, modest global economic recovery is expected for 2017-18, but this is more an indication of economic stabilization than a signal of a robust and sustained revival of global demand.
Significant risks remain, such as a high degree of uncertainty in the international policy environment and elevated foreign currency-denominated debt levels. Growth in the developed economies is set to slightly improve in 2017, although developing countries continue to be the main drivers of global growth.

East Asia and South Asia remain the world’s most dynamic regions. In East Asia, private consumption and public investment continued to drive growth, but export growth remained exceptionally weak. There are encouraging signs that the subregion will emerge from the two-year stretch of producer-price deflation. In South Asia, growth is projected to remain vigorous, supported by monetary policy easing and policy reforms. The fiscal policy stance remains moderately tight but with some degree of flexibility. On downside risks, high and rising corporate and household debt in some East Asian economies, most notably China, is a cause of concern. In South Asia, the reform agenda might also experience some setbacks, while political instabilities could dampen investment prospects.

The report emphasizes that policymakers in developing economies should strengthen policy efforts to revive investment to facilitate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Investment in key areas, such as research and development, education and infrastructure, can serve to promote social and environmental progress, while also supporting productivity growth. The report also calls for greater international policy cooperation and coordination, particularly in the areas of trade and investment. Deeper international cooperation is also needed to raise climate finance, strengthen international tax cooperation and address the challenges posed by large movements of refugees and migrants.

The report will be launched on Thursday, 19 January 2017 from 11.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT).