Global economic growth has slowed over the year to date. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) downgraded its forecast slightly to 2.9 % at the beginning of October based on the data available for the first half of 2015. Moreover, the latest early indicators for the third quarter of 2015 point to a further slowdown in growth. This is also reflected in global trade: the emerging and developing markets in particular saw a significant decline in trade volumes in the first half of 2015.
Despite a cautious start, the advanced economies have made good progress over the year to date. The growth in gross domestic product (GDP) of the G7 countries was 0.5 % in the second quarter. Growth was mainly driven by the USA and the UK. By contrast, the emerging economies cooled significantly on the back of internal economic problems, falling raw material prices and reduced capital flows. At 6.9 %, Chinese GDP growth in the third quarter fell below 7 % for the first time since the global economic crisis in 2009. Russia slid into a major recession in the first half of the year, contracting by 2.2 % in the first quarter and 4.6 % in the second quarter. The Ukrainian economy is also in a deep crisis. Nevertheless, based on the latest sentiment indicators, the Ukrainian economy is expected to stabilise in the third quarter following a slump in economic output of around 16 % in the first half of 2015. The eurozone economy continued its recovery. Growth of 0.4 % over the previous quarter is forecast again for the third quarter. The Eastern European economies turned in a much more dynamic performance with growth rates of between 2.5 % and 4.4 % in the second quarter. Despite the subdued macroeconomic outlook, the German economy is still in good shape and is expected to record growth of 0.5 % in the third quarter. Exports rose by 6.6 % year-on-year in the period January to August. Imports rose by 3.5 % in total over the first eight months.