General economic conditions

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) corrected its fall forecast for economic growth in 2016 downward from its April estimate and now expects an increase of 3.1 %, following a 3.2 % increase in 2015. While the global economy lost momentum, this was relatively marginal in light of the uncertainties and differences in individual countries and regions.

World trade also suffered in 2016. The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently forecast a 1.7 % increase in global trade volume, following a much more optimistic estimate of 2.8 % in April 2016.

The mood on the global financial markets improved with regards to the assessment of emerging markets, with a good overall view of Asia apart from China, and robust growth in India. However, political tensions and consequent uncertainties have increased in the industrialized economies. The IMF predicts economic growth of 1.6 % in these economies in 2016, following 2.1 % in 2015.

Expected GDP growth in 2016

Chart: Expected GDP growth in 2016

In the US, the expected increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 was corrected from 2.2 % in the July forecast to 1.6 % now. The strong US dollar is perceived as a strain for exports, which has led to a lack of investment; uncertainty also arose in the course of the presidential campaign and as a result of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy.

For the eurozone, the IMF anticipates 1.7 % growth in 2016 after 2 % in the previous year. The driving force behind the recovery, private consumption, lost momentum in the second quarter. In addition, the British people voted to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23. The economy in the eurozone nevertheless remained on a growth course – in the second quarter of 2016, GDP increased by 0.3 % according to the Eurostat statistical office.

In China, whose economic development is exceptionally important for the global economy and the copper market, growth in the first three quarters established itself roughly in the middle of the 6.5 to 7 % range that had been planned for 2016. An official growth rate of 6.7 % was achieved in all three quarters. The IMF expects 6.6 % for the entire year 2016.