IMF Cuts Global Forecast, Sees European Recession, Warns Of 4% Economic Crunch If No Euroarea Action

The latest IMF Global Financial Stability Report is out and it is not pretty. The IMF now sees:

  • 2012 world growth outlook cut to 3.3% from 4.0%, 2013 growth revised lower to 3.9% from 4.5%
  • 2012 US growth of 1.8%, 2013 at 2.2%
  • 2012 UK growth of 0.6%, down from 1.6%
  • 2012 China growth of 8.2%, down from 9.0%
  • Eurozone to enter "mild" recession, whatever that is, with -0.5% economic growth, to grow again in 2013 by 0.8%. Unclear just how with all the deleveraging...

IMF also adds that without action, the debt crisis may force a 4% Euro-area contraction, in line with what the World Bank, controlled by a former Goldmanite, said. Lastly, the IMF says that Europe needs a larger firewall and bank deleveraging limits. Well there is always that €X trillion February 29 LTRO.

Some selections:

The recovery is expected to stall in many economies


The updated WEO projections see global activity decelerating but not collapsing. Most advanced economies avoid falling back into a recession, while activity in emerging and developing economies slows from a high pace. However, this is predicated on the assumption that in the euro area,  policymakers intensify efforts to address the crisis. As a result, sovereign bond premiums stabilize near current levels and start to normalize in early 2013. Also, policies succeed in limiting deleveraging by euro area banks. Credit and investment in the euro area contract only modestly, with limited financial and trade spillovers to other regions.


Downside risks have risen sharply


Downside risks stem from several sources. The most immediate risk is intensification of the adverse feedback loops between sovereign and bank funding pressures in the euro area, resulting in much larger and more protracted bank deleveraging and sizable contractions in credit and output.  Figure 4 presents such a downside scenario. It assumes that sovereign spreads temporarily rise. Increased concerns about fiscal sustainability force a more front-loaded fiscal consolidation, which depresses near-term demand and growth. Bank asset quality deteriorates by more than in the baseline, owing to higher losses on sovereign debt holdings and on loans to the private sector. Private investment contracts by additional 1¾ percentage points of GDP (relative to WEO projections). As a result, euro area output is reduced by about 4 percent relative to the WEO forecast. Assuming that financial contagion to the rest of the world is more intense than in the baseline (but weaker than following the collapse of Lehman  Brothers in 2008) and taking into consideration spillovers via international trade, global output will be lower than the WEO projections by about 2 percent.


Another downside risk arises from insufficient progress in developing medium-term fiscal consolidation plans in the United States and Japan. In the short term, this risk might be mitigated as the turbulence in the euro area makes government debt of these economies more attractive to  investors. However, as long as public debt levels are projected to rise over the medium term, and in the absence of well-defined and credible fiscal consolidation strategies, there is the possibility of turmoil in global bond and currency markets. A more immediate risk is that an accident-prone political economy will lead to excessive fiscal tightening in the near term in the United States. In key emerging economies, risks relate to the possibility of a hard landing, especially in the context of uncertain (possibly slowing) potential output. In recent years, a number of major emerging economies experienced buoyant credit and asset price growth as well as rising financial vulnerabilities. This has buoyed demand and may have led to overestimation of the trend growth rates in these economies. Should the dynamics of real estate and credit markets unwind triggered by losses in confidence and a paring back of expectations at home or by falling demand from abroad—the impact on economic activity could be very damaging.


Moreover, concerns about geopolitical oil supply risks are increasing again. The oil market impact of  intensified concerns about an Iran-related oil supply shock (or an actual disruption) would be large, given limited inventory and spare capacity buffers, as well as the still-tight physical market conditions expected throughout 2012.

Full report below: