Global ratings agency Fitch lowered its global growth forecast Monday, pointing to the slowdown in China and the effect it will likely have on commodities-dependent countries like Russia and South Africa.
“The collapse in commodity prices has presented commodity exporters in the emerging world with a huge income shock,” Fitch said in a report released Monday on the state of the global economy. “This has uncovered hitherto disguised macroeconomic vulnerabilities in Brazil and forced severe expenditure compression across the commodity-producing world.”
The plummeting demand from China for everything from Australian iron ore to Brazilian meat exports is putting pressure on national budgets. And while low oil prices help consumers, oil-dependent countries have suffered.
Fitch now sees the pace of global growth in gross domestic product reaching 2.5 percent this year, down from a 2.9 percent forecast in December and the same as 2015. The growth rate in advanced economies is seen dropping from last year, to a 1.7-percent pace from 1.8 percent. Growth in the U.S. and the U.K. is expected to slow this year, too.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, is expected to grow 6.2 percent, down from 6.8 percent last year, Fitch said. The 19-nation eurozone is seen remaining steady at 1.5 percent this year. Emerging markets are expected to see a growth increase to 4 percent from 3.8 percent despite significant declines in Russia, Brazil and South Africa.
Low oil prices are helping consumer spending in developed markets, and advanced economies are moving past the worst effects on private-sector energy investments, Fitch said. Global growth is expected to pick up in 2017, led by continued growth in underdeveloped markets, the company added.
“The breadth of the revisions is notable but still leaves the growth outlook a long way above global recession territory,” the report said.