Global growth will slow in 2019

Analysts converge to predict a drop in global growth this year, but that should not lead to recession.

European households should even gain in purchasing power, thanks to the decline in oil prices.

This is a traditional exercise: at the beginning of the year, all the analysts unveil their forecasts for the next twelve months. This is difficult in 2019, given the uncertainties weighing on the evolution of trade tensions between the United States and China and on Brexit.

Despite these unknowns, forecasters estimate that 2019 is expected to be a year of moderate slowdown in growth. The rating agency S & P Global expects GDP growth of 1.6% next year in the eurozone, against 1.9 in 2018; 2.3% in the United States compared to 2.9% in 2018; and 6.2% in China against 6.5% in 2018. In short, "Autumn is coming, but not winter"says Sylvain Broyer, chief economist of S & P Global for Europe.

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The world suspended by Chinese growth

This slowdown is mainly caused by developments in China, where the decline in activity is significant. A sign: for the first time in 20 years, the number of cars purchased in 2018 is down. But in the event of a worsening of the trade war with the United States, China would be the most affected. An increase in taxes could cost him up to 2 points of GDP, according to a study by the UBS bank last July.

At this stage, however, the trade war is not yet really penalizing trade. "Donald Trump abandons multilateralism and detracts from trade agreements. But in reality he has made few tariff increases so far, says Sylvain Broyer.

"The new customs duties imposed by Donald Trump today represent a 0.2 point increase in the cost of Chinese products entering the United States, He adds. But their investments in the "Silk Roads" (the new Chinese trade routes to the world, Ed) have reduced the cost by 2 percentage points ... ".

Activity is slowing in the eurozone

A crisis is unlikely

The agency, however, does not believe in a recession in the course of 2019. It believes that the financial markets have been overly pessimistic in the 4e quarter of 2018, with a decrease of approximately 20% in corporate shares.

She said fiscal easing and tax cuts in Europe should boost growth, especially as vacancies remain high, meaning that wages should continue to rise. "But inflation is falling in the euro zone for the first time in three years, so that households will really feel the effect of wage increases in 2019"says Sylvain Broyer.

Consumption is expected to increase in France

For France, the agency expects growth of 1.6% in 2019. The purchasing power of households is expected to increase from 1.2 to 1.6%, the result of several factors: a fall in inflation of 0 , 5 point, especially thanks to the expected decline in the price of oil (at $ 67 a barrel, against 72 in 2018); tax cuts, which "Will release 0.4 point of purchasing power"; and an increase in employment at the same pace as last year. As a result, consumption could increase by 1.3%, compared with 1% last year.

This scenario, however, does not take into account the movement of "yellow vests" and is only valid if the latter "Calm down quickly".

Alain Guillemoles