In its World Economic Outlook Update (WEO Update) of January 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) anticipates growth of 5.5% for the global economy in 2021. The IMF expects the economy to normalize in all regions as a result of the vaccinations against the coronavirus that are being rolled out in many countries. The economic stimulus programs in certain major economies will also contribute toward this recovery.
Most notably, the IMF forecasts high growth rates in gross domestic product (GDP) of 11.5% in India and 8.1% in China. The IMF also expects growth to increase in many other emerging and developing economies in 2021. For example, it anticipates that Brazil and Russia will grow by 3.6% and 3.0%, respectively.
For the eurozone, the IMF expects GDP to rise 4.2% in 2021, with GDP for the German economy expected to grow by 3.5%. For the UK, it anticipates that GDP will rise by 4.5%.
For the USA, the IMF predicts GDP growth of 5.1% for 2021. The IMF expects the effects of the US economic stimulus programs to be positive.
For Japan, the IMF likewise expects positive effects as a result of the fiscal policy measures announced by the Japanese government. For 2021, it forecasts growth of 3.1%.
Key opportunities for the global economy identified by the IMF in its WEO Update – in addition to greater fiscal support – include in particular further progress in the production and distribution of vaccines against the coronavirus and the effectiveness of treatments. As a result, expectations of a quicker end to the pandemic are likely to increase, with confidence among businesses and households also likely to improve. According to the IMF, this could lead to a higher level of spending, higher investments and a noticeable recovery with regard to employment figures.
The IMF sees key risks in a delayed containment of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the spread of virus mutations or progress that is slower than anticipated with regard to medical interventions. Hopes of a relatively quick end to the pandemic could be dampened as a result, and confidence among traders weakened. Early withdrawal of state support could also lead to a rise in company insolvencies and heightened social unrest.