Five years of the global economic recovery

The report marks the fifth anniversary of the ACCA–IMA Global Economic Conditions Survey. It explores the major trends that have driven the global economy between 2009 and 2014 and considers what they might mean for the future of the recovery.


In early 2014, the ACCA–IMA Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) marked five full years of coverage of the global economy. Since its launch in early 2009, the survey has received over 40,000 responses from ACCA and IMA members around the world, and its 21 quarterly reports to date have been covered by the financial and mainstream press over 6,300 times. It is ACCA’s most cited publication and a reliable barometer of the global economy.
This report uses GECS data to follow the global recovery through five distinct periods, and uncovers common patterns in the responses of businesses, governments and policymakers around the world, as well as what they have meant for businesses’ finance functions.
The report looks to the future as well as the past. Its findings highlight:

  • The continued importance of global supply chains and regional economic linkages.
  • How both Europe and China have steered clear of the most commonly-cited doomsday scenarios.
  • The fundamental weakness of the early global recovery (2009-10) and how they have been overcome since.
  • The rapid slowdown in China’s economy and its far-reaching consequences for Asia and Africa.
  • The growing disconnect between confidence levels in the financial sector and the real economy, and the fragility of the recent recovery consensus.
  • The decisive role of central banks and the unintended but devastating consequences of their actions on emerging markets.
  • The limitations of fiscal stimulus by ‘big spenders’ such as the US, China, Russia, Malaysia and Pakistan. 
  • The persistence of inflation and the threat of new asset bubbles.
  • The return of business financing and investment, and the structural weaknesses it will expose.

Finally, the report gratefully acknowledges the contribution of ACCA and IMA members around the world, who have for five years shared their first-hand accounts of conditions on the ground.