As it turns out, fears of a global economic recession were overblown. Worldwide economic growth did slow considerably during the second half of 2001 and into the early months of 2002 — in consort with the sputtering U.S. economic engine — and some individual nations did in fact plunge into recession. But it appears that the world as a whole has weathered the latest economic storm, beaten up a bit but still standing.
In recent months, economic forecasts emanating from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the various consensus panels of economists that follow international growth trends have been revised consistently upward.
Entering the second quarter of this year, the general consensus was that the U.S. economy would grow by about 2.5 percent during 2002 — more than twice as fast as predicted during the closing days of last year. Average 2002 gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the European market was pegged at a much weaker 1.3 percent again this year, although this was better than the less than 1 percent gain originally anticipated. Japan's GDP is expected to decline moderately again this year.
International economic growth
Annual percent change in GDP
Source: The Economist forecast panel and IMF