Economy 2017


The world economy is on course for its best performance since 2010, with near-synchronised growth among advanced nations. The US will be an epicentre of the growth impulse, Europe will sustain its recent momentum and Japan is stronger than initially thought. Moreover, emerging markets will provide thrust to the world, as Russia and Brazil exit recession, and China finesses its growth profile around 7%. 

Africa will also enjoy a revival in 2017, aided by resource-dependent economies harnessing relatively buoyant oil and base-metals prices. Resources-light East Africa will be sparkling, expanding by 5.5%, and South Africa’s 2016 nadir will be cemented by acceleration this year, although the likely inelegant and clamorous race to succeed President Zuma will seem all-consuming. 

There are, of course, global and local risks: illiberal political pressures, and actions, will bear worryingly on both flanks of the Atlantic, and there is risk that President Trump’s fiscal stimulus proves impotent while China is unable to stave off financial sector instability.  Across Africa, the weather is a crucial swing element for farmers, and economies. Following too little rain in the continent’s south, and too much in the east, last year, we wish for Goldilocks proportions in 2017. In South Africa, a growth revival will take root, albeit mostly inspired by exports.

Goolam Ballim 
Chief Economist, Standard Bank

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