“While global economic indicators remain largely favourable, they do not tell the whole story. The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 underscores that behind these numbers, one can discern a build-up in short-term risks that are threatening global growth prospects. More fundamentally, the report raises concern over the sustainability of global economic growth in the face of rising financial, social and environmental challenges.” —António Guterres, UN Secretary-General.
In many developed countries, growth rates have risen close to their potential, while unemployment rates have dropped to historical lows. Among the developing economies, the East and South Asia regions remain on a relatively strong growth trajectory, amid robust domestic demand conditions. Beneath the strong global headline figures, however, economic progress has been highly uneven across regions. Despite an improvement in growth prospects at the global level, several large developing countries saw a decline in per capita income in 2018.
Even among the economies that are experiencing strong per capita income growth, economic activity is often driven by core industrial and urban regions, leaving peripheral and rural areas behind. While economic activity in the commodity-exporting countries, notably fuel exporters, is gradually recovering, growth remains susceptible to volatile commodity prices. For these economies, the sharp drop in global commodity prices in 2014/15 has continued to weigh on fiscal and external balances, while leaving a legacy of higher levels of debt.