By Isaac Cohen*
The most intriguing question for 2022 is if the pandemic will end, or if it will linger as a more dangerous version of the flu. The answer to this question is key to anticipate economic prospects, because the world economy remains determined by the pandemic.
The second question is if the world economic recovery, still besieged by the variants of the virus, will be sustained in 2022. In the United States, in 2021, economic growth reached almost 6 percent, with unemployment under 4 percent, but with consumer prices increasing 7 percent on a yearly basis. Therefore, the announcement by the central bank that it will turn to fight inflation by tightening monetary policy, reducing asset purchases and increasing interest rates, indicate a slowdown can be anticipated for this year. In 2022, the International Monetary Fund estimates almost 4 percent of economic growth in the United States.
The third question has to do with the Chinese economy, which slowed down in the second half of 2021, due to disruptions in the housing sector, power outages and strict pandemic control measures. The prospect is that the slowdown will continue into this year, with the International Monetary Fund downgrading its latest growth estimate for the Chinese economy to less than 5 percent. This means a reduction in the economic prospects for those commodity exporters, for which China has become the main trading partner.
Briefly, welcome to another year with the world economy still dominated by the pandemic.
*International analyst and consultant, former Director ECLAC Washington. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media.