Annual Report 2022

Macroeconomic forecast

Growth expectations for GDP

Growth expectation in %




Trend vs. 2022





Advanced economies








Emerging economies
















Central and Eastern Europe (emerging European economies)








World trade




Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF); January 2023

The global economy will continue to be burdened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as high inflation in 2023. However, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to diminish over the course of the year, especially as China abandons its zero-Covid policy.

Overall, there are positive signals for the global economy, with various national economies showing unexpectedly high resilience. It appears that the more stringent fiscal policy is starting to bear fruit. Global inflation rates seem to have reached their peak in the third quarter of 2022. In view of the improved outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) does not expect the global economy to slide into recession this year – something that had not been ruled out in the autumn forecast of 2022. The IMF is now more upbeat about the macroeconomic outlook and has upgraded its latest forecast for global economic growth slightly by 0.2 percentage points to 2.9 %. At the same time, global growth remains below the "historic average" of the past two decades. The IMF's forecast of low growth in 2023 reflects the rapid rise of central bank interest rates in an effort to combat inflation – particularly in advanced economies – as well as the uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine.

The economic slowdown in 2023 compared with the previous year emanates from the advanced economies. Meanwhile, growth in the emerging and developing economies is thought to have reached its lowest point in 2022.

Global trade will weaken in 2023 as a result of the slower pace of economic growth. A fall in demand for goods and the expected weakening of the pandemic in China will continue to reduce imbalances and alleviate problems in global supply chains. According to IMF estimates, global trade volumes will grow by 2.4 % this year.

The outlook for those economic regions of particular significance to HHLA varies for 2023. The IMF expects economic growth in China to gather momentum and has significantly upgraded its economic outlook for the world’s second-biggest economy by 0.8 percentage points to 5.2 %. The easing of its zero-Covid policy and rapidly improving mobility are likely to facilitate a faster economic recovery. The significant improvement in the economic outlook is also reflected in the Purchasing Mangers’ Index (PMI), which acts as an indicator of business sentiment for the world’s second-largest economy.

In Russia, the decline in economic activity appears to have bottomed out in 2022. The oil embargo against Russia imposed by the European Union and the price cap on Russian gas agreed with the G7 countries are not having the desired effect. Crude oil exports from Russia are being transferred to countries that are not imposing sanctions. In 2023, the IMF expects to see Russian economic output expand slightly by 0.3 %. The outlook for the Ukrainian economy depends on how the war develops and is completely uncertain. For this reason, the IMF did not make any estimates regarding economic developments in Ukraine in its October 2022 forecast.

The IMF's experts anticipate economic growth of 1.5 % for the emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe. In view of unexpected resilience, the latest developments in the eurozone give cause for hope. As a result, the IMF expects that macroeconomic activity in the eurozone will expand by 0.7 % in 2023. According to the IMF's latest estimates from October 2022, Estonian GDP is expected to achieve growth of 1.8 %. Italy’s economic output is set to grow by 0.6 % and thus avoid the recession previously forecast by the IMF for Italy and Germany in 2023. However, the growth forecast for Germany is low at 0.1 %.

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