We are almost a decade away from the 2008-09 financial crisis, and economies around the world are still expanding, almost in unison. In 2017, the world saw improvements in the labor market, positive trade growth, and rising stock markets. All of this positive data came in the midst of political turmoil across the globe including unrest in the South China sea - which is an important trade route.
China, the world’s largest economy, had an outstanding year and reported that their economy expanded 6.9% in 2017. This is up from 6.7% in 2016 and broke a trend of falling GDP growth. Although 2017 was a year of positive economic news for China, there is uncertainty about the country's economic future. China’s growth has come at a price and the government has taken on severe amounts of debt. The increase of this country’s borrowing has triggered downgrades from credit rating agencies. Many economists are predicting that China will have to forgo some economic growth and tighten up their fiscal policy in order to control these debt levels. It is soothing that Chinese President, Xi Jinping appears to recognize this and stated in October that the country, “should no longer emphasize maximizing economic growth at almost any cost.”
Across the globe, there are other notable bright spots. South America, was recently in an economic downturn but now appears to be rebuilding with a bright future. In Brazil, for example, there has been an expansion in consumption due to lower interest rates and the government's ability to control inflation. Other states like Chile and Peru have weathered their individual difficulties of mining strikes and floods and are now in the clear. Although this isn’t the case for all countries in this region, most notably Venezuela, it is comforting to realize that there have been successful policies that have benefited the region.