Nouriel Roubini writes: The outlook for the global economy in 2012 is clear, but it isn’t pretty: recession in Europe, anaemic growth at best in the United States, and a sharp slowdown in China and in most emerging-market economies. Asian economies are exposed to China. Latin America is exposed to lower commodity prices (as both China and the advanced economies slow). Central and Eastern Europe are exposed to the eurozone. And turmoil in the Middle East is causing serious economic risks – both there and elsewhere – as geopolitical risk remains high and thus high oil prices will constrain global growth.
At this point, a eurozone recession is certain. While its depth and length cannot be predicted, a continued credit crunch, sovereign-debt problems, lack of competitiveness, and fiscal austerity imply a serious downturn.
The US – growing at a snail’s pace since 2010 – faces considerable downside risks from the eurozone crisis. It must also contend with significant fiscal drag, ongoing deleveraging in the household sector (amid weak job creation, stagnant incomes, and persistent downward pressure on real estate and financial wealth), rising inequality and political gridlock.
Elsewhere among the major advanced economies, the United Kingdom is double-dipping, as front-loaded fiscal consolidation and eurozone exposure undermine growth. In Japan, the post-earthquake recovery will fizzle out as weak governments fail to implement structural reforms.
Meanwhile, flaws in China’s growth model are becoming obvious. Falling property prices are starting a chain reaction that will have a negative effect on developers, investment and government revenue. The construction boom is starting to stall, just as net exports have become a drag on growth, owing to weakening US and especially eurozone demand. Having sought to cool the property market by reining in runaway prices, Chinese leaders will be hard put to restart growth.
They are not alone. On the policy side, the US, Europe and Japan, too, have been postponing the serious economic, fiscal and financial reforms that are needed to restore sustainable and balanced growth.