ACCA and IMA publish report highlighting long-term global economic issues

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) have jointly published the Global Economic Themes report. It examines three of the longer-term structural issues that are affecting the global economy as well as the global economic impact of the US-China trade tensions. The three issues are:

·         The Euro – fiscal integration needed

The Euro has survived its first two decades, despite several financial crises that threatened its very existence. But it has not been a success - it has failed to deliver the real economic convergence among its members claimed for it at the outset. Indeed, the Euro’s “one size fits all” monetary policy has delivered economic divergence, not convergence. History suggests that monetary unions only survive in the long run if they become fiscal unions too. The next two decades of the Euro are likely to see further progress in this direction ultimately resulting in a eurozone Finance ministry with tax and spending powers. Limited progress so far has come following financial crises – a prime candidate for the next eurozone crisis is Italy, where public sector debt is very high and the banking system increasingly fragile.

·         China - becoming rich before it becomes old? 

Many analysts have predicted that this century will belong to China. Indeed, China has great advantages, including a modern infrastructure, a large domestic market that allows firms to exploit economies of scale and an advanced digital economy. But there are challenges that must be overcome if China is to succeed in propelling itself from a middle-income country to a high income one. High levels of debt, especially among State Owned Enterprises, are now limiting the ability of the authorities to stimulate growth through lower interest rates. In addition, the population of working age is now declining as the population as a whole ages. This will both reduce the trend rate of GDP growth and increase the dependency ratio – fewer workers in relation to an increasing number of older people.

·         The USA – public debt challenges

The U.S. economy has now expanded continuously for over 10 years, the longest such period in over 150 years. But there are structural changes that represent challenges for policymakers. Perhaps the greatest concern arises from the level of public sector debt, which is on track to reach its highest level since 1946. More positively, the U.S. can operate at lower levels of unemployment without generating upward pressure on inflation. Finally, the resurgence of the oil industry and the emergence of the U.S. as a net exporter of oil is a positive for the economy because it is not reliant on the Middle East for supplies. But again, it is one that requires an adjustment in policy responses and may introduce greater volatility to the economic cycle. Now a lot of investment and spending is tied into the oil market therefore this could increase volatility in the oil sector.

Michael Taylor, Chief Economist at ACCA said: ‘The articles in the Global Economic Themes report look at economic issues that are likely to have an impact over the longer term.  

‘Through much of last year, US-China trade tensions increased which undermined business confidence and investment as well as contributing to a sharp slowdown in global trade. A recent improvement in trade relations resulted in a ‘Phase One’ trade deal which included a modest reduction in some tariffs.’   

Taylor added: ‘China’s economy now faces very serious challenges with the coronavirus epidemic. Extended factory closures and travel restrictions may well completely stall the economy in the first quarter of the year. But provided the virus is brought under control soon, we would expect activity to recover fairly quickly later in the year. However, a prolonged crisis could result in a more permanent reduction in Chinese economic growth for example, if there were significant job losses that further reduce consumer confidence and spending.’

Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA vice president of research and policy, said, ‘We saw confidence in the U.S. tread low throughout the year before an uptick in Q4. The economy continues to expand, and fears of a recession have quelled with continued consumer spending and rising wages. With 2020 being a U.S. presidential election year, confidence should continue to move upward.’

‘Global Economic Themes’ can be found online here:

ACCA’s economic analysis (7 February 2020) of the coronavirus is here: https://www.accaglobal.com/content/dam/ACCA_Global/professional-insights/GECS_Global_Economic_Themes_2020/Economic_Briefing_Coronavirus.Michael_Taylor.pdf

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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 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) program, 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 localised 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.