Overall economic development

The global economy was in a moderate recovery phase in fall 2016. According to an IMF estimate, the economy could gain traction in 2017 and grow somewhat faster, with plus 3.4 % compared to 2016. Nevertheless, the IMF pointed out that this forecast is based on a number of assumptions and that there are still risks.

The assumed progress in emerging markets and developing countries contributes positively to this assessment. A return to more normalized conditions in individual countries is necessary, though. Rising commodity prices benefit development in countries that export raw materials. First and foremost, however, the decisive condition is that China’s economic transformation proceeds without any significant growth slumps, with a growth rate that considerably exceeds that of other emerging markets.

For the industrialized countries, on the other hand, the outlook is subdued overall, though the upswing should continue in general and individual countries should see an improved trend. The industrialized countries’ growth in productivity is rather low, and investment activity is too weak in some cases. The tendency towards protectionism holds risks in particular. Weak global trade is a cause for concern in those economies with strong exports. There is also uncertainty regarding the very expansive monetary policy that supports global growth.

In the regional markets that are important for the world copper market, the following tendencies are evident for 2017:

The IMF assumes that the USA will achieve economic growth of 2.2 % (previous year: 1.6 %) in 2017. Nevertheless, insecurity has increased following the election, which could lead to changes in the country’s political direction. A growth rate of 6.2 % (previous year: 6.6 %) is expected for China, assuming that the transformation towards more consumption-oriented growth and to an economy more strongly supported by services continues in an orderly fashion. In the eurozone, the IMF anticipates economic growth of 1.5 % (previous year: 1.7 %), which takes into account uncertainties about the economic consequences of the Brexit vote. Despite lower growth of 1.4 % (previous year: 1.7 %), Germany is still viewed as a pillar of stability in the region overall.