Global economic confidence falls to lowest level in almost eight years in Q3 2019

A survey of more than 1,000 senior accountancy experts on economic conditions worldwide finds that global confidence in Q3 fell to its lowest level since 2011.

The report Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS), jointly published by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) reveals that global employment and investment intentions also declined – pointing to a slowing world economy heading into 2020.

Key messages from the survey include;

-       There has been a convergence of confidence at low levels across regions: Asia Pacific is at the bottom, reflecting the effects on the region of continued slowdown in China.

-       Global orders were unchanged in Q3, steady at a three-year low, but they are not signalling recession in the world economy.

-       Cost pressures at the global level eased for the fifth quarter in a row, suggesting further scope for monetary easing by many central banks.

-       The US orders index fell in Q3 and is pointing to slower growth into 2020 but recession is unlikely.

-       Confidence and orders weakened in Western Europe where the euro-zone is particularly vulnerable to the downturn in global trade.

-       Brexit uncertainty continues to hold back business investment in the UK ahead of the October 31st deadline for  leaving the European Union.

-       Confidence in the Middle East fell to its lowest level in a year, hampered by geopolitical risks in the region.

-       South Asia economic confidence dropped in the latest survey, with an especially large fall in India, where the economic outlook has deteriorated considerably in recent months.

Michael Taylor, chief economist at ACCA, warns that risks to the global economy have increased in recent months, saying: ‘The fall in confidence this quarter is not surprising, given the escalation in the US-China trade war, evidence of continued slowdown in China, increased geopolitical risks in the Middle East and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

‘Growth in emerging markets, especially those heavily dependent on exports, is slowing. Global trade growth has softened even more than global economic growth over the last couple of years, hurting many emerging markets.’

He continues: ‘The good news is that reduced concerns about inflation, highlighted in the GECS, means that monetary policy is being eased. Significantly, the US Federal Reserve has already cut interest rates by half a percentage point and is likely to do more by year-end. Many other central banks have followed suit, improving monetary conditions in emerging markets. Easier monetary policy and buoyant jobs’ markets in many economies are the case for the global economy avoiding recession.”    

Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA vice president of research and policy says: ‘The evidence so far of a significant slowdown in the real economy is mixed – investment has weakened but the consumer is relatively buoyant. The GECS orders index is consistent with GDP growth of between 1% and 1.5% annually in the second half of the year.’

Lawson adds: ‘But confidence is still at a very low level, close to the all-time low, undermined by the trade war with China and a slowing global economy. Orders fell further in the third quarter and are now consistent with US growth slowing to an annual rate of between 1% and 1.5% into 2020. Our view remains that a US recession is highly unlikely, either this year or in 2020.’

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About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of learning and development.

Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

ACCA has introduced major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. More information is here: www.accaglobal.com

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)
IMA®, named the 2017 and 2018 Professional Body of the Year by The Accountant/International Accounting Bulletin, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) programs, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. IMA has a global network of more than 125,000 members in 150 countries and 300 professional and student chapters. Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe, and Middle East/India. For more information about IMA, please visit www.imanet.org.