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Economic and market outlook: Midyear 2022 update

Inflation, policy elevate the risk of recession

A lot has changed since Vanguard published its economic and market outlook for 2022, Striking a Better Balance. At the start of the year, we expected global economies to continue to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but at a more modest pace than in 2021. While that holds true, the pace of change in macroeconomic fundamentals such as inflation, growth, and monetary policy has failed to live up to expectations.

Labour and supply-chain constraints were already fueling inflation before the year began, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s zero-COVID policy exacerbated the situation. Central banks have been forced to play catchup in the fight against inflation, ratcheting up interest rates more rapidly and possibly higher than previously expected. But those actions risk cooling economies to the point that they enter recession.

“Global economic growth will likely stay positive this year, but some economies are flirting with recession, if not this year, then in 2023,” said Andrew Patterson, Vanguard senior international economist.

Compared with the start of the year, Vanguard has downgraded its 2022 GDP growth forecasts for all the major regions, increased its inflation forecasts, and become more hawkish about monetary policy.

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