IMF Upgrades Global Economic Outlook for 2023

The International Monetary Fund or The IMF have upgraded its global economic outlook, China eases its zero-covid policies and the world shows surprising resilience in the face of high inflation, elevated interest rates and Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine.

In a recent press conference in Singapore, The IMF Chief Economist Pierre Olivier Gourinchas said, that “global conditions have improved as inflation pressures started to abate and that the road back to a full recovery with sustainable growth, stable prices and progress for all has only started".

Such statements are a stark contrast, to the warnings that IMF chief, Kristina Georgiva made earlier in the year, in which she said that one third of the world economy is expected to go into recession.

With this brighter outlook, The IMF is now forecasting the global economy to grow by 2,9% this year, better than the previous forecast of 2,7%, made last October. A big factor in the upgrade to global growth was China’s decision late last year, to lift anti-virus controls that had kept millions of people at home.

The IMF now expects China's economy, the world’s second-biggest after The United States to grow 5.2% this year, up from its October forecast of 4.4%. The US economic growth forecast was also upgraded to 1,4% from the previous 1%.

Russia's economy, hit by sanctions after its invasion of Ukraine, has proved sturdier than expected too As The IMF forecasts Russia to register 0.3% growth this year, marking an improvement from the previous forecast of 2.3% contraction.

The United Kingdom is however, a striking exception to the imf's brighter outlook for 2023. The IMF is forecasting that the uk economy will shrink by 0.6% in 2023, In October, The IMF had expected growth of 0.3%. According to The IMF, higher interest rates and tighter government budgets are squeezing The British economy.

Global inflation is also expected to ease to 6,6% this year, down from the 8,8 percent in 2022.

EU Minister on Tougher Migration Rules

EU officials and interior ministers have called for new ways to increase the number of failed asylum seekers, who are returned to their home countries.

Swedish Migration Minister said at a news conference in Stockholm, that the effective return of irregular migrants is essential to ensure the credibility of EU policies, in the field of international protection and legal migration.

The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs said almost 60% of the one million asylum applications were rejected, and that people coming from countries, with no apparent threat to their safety were clogging up the system.

They spoke at a meeting of the European Union Home Affairs and Justice Ministers. Sweden holds the EU’s rotating presidency. It was the first of the two-day meeting in Stockholm devoted to migration, including cooperation with third countries.

‘Avatar 2’ Tops Box Office for 7th Weekend

Avatar: The Way of Water”, claimed the no one spot on the domestic box office charts,for the seventh weekend in a row, with an additional USD15.7 million.

It was a quiet weekend overall, notable mostly for the hindi language blockbuster “Pathaan”, that broke into the top five, and the post-oscar nominations rereleases of films like “Everything Everywhere All at Once”and “The Fabelmans.

“Avatar 2’s” first-place North American run has only been matched by the first “Avatar” and in the past 25 years, bested by “Titanic”, which stayed in first place for 15 weeks. All three were directed by James Cameron.

Globally, “The Way of Water”, has now grossed an estimated USD2.1 billion, passing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, to become the fourth highest grossing film of all time. 

Second place went to universal and dreamworks’ family-oriented offering, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”, which made USD10.6 million in its sixth weekend. The Animated Spinoff has earned over USD140.8 million in North America and was recently made available to stream at home too.

Third place went to Sony’s “A Man Called Otto”, with USD6.8 million, from almost four thousand locations. The meme-able horror “M3gan”, a universal release, snuck into fourth place with USD6.4 million in its fourth weekend, bringing its domestic total to USD82.3 million.

United State GDP Grew 2,9% in Q4, Inflation Eased to 5%

Despite the pressure of high interest rates, and widespread fears of a looming recession, The US economy managed to grow by 2,9% in the fourth quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, he US economy's overall growth in 2022, reached 2,1%.

The fourth quarter of last year, the us economy got a boost from federal government spending, restocking of supplies by businesses, and resilient consumer spending. Consumer spending, which fuels about 70% of the entire economy, rose at a sturdy 2.1% annual rate in fouth quarter, down slightly from 2.3% in the previous quarter.

The us job market has also been resilient, in 2022, us employers added 4,5 million jobs. The unemployment rate in December also came in at 3.5%, matching a 53-year low.

Meanwhile, inflation is also continuing to ease in the US. In December, annual inflation slowed to 5%, down from the 5,5% yearly inflation in November. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, also slowed to 4,4%, slowing from the previous 4,7% in November.

In December, falling prices for oil, gas, copper, lumber, wheat and other commodities, along with the unclogging of supply chains, have helped slow the retail costs of cars, furniture and clothes, among other items.

Easing inflation also comes amid slower consumer spending, which fell 0.2% from November to December. Last year's holiday sales were also sluggish for many retailers, and the overall spending figures for the final two months of 2022 were the weakest in two years.

Despite inflation continuing to ease, and the us recording 2.1% growth in 2022, treasury secretary janet yellen still believes that us economy is at risk of recession, amid the high interest rate hikes by the fed.

China's Economy Growth Gains

China's GDP growth has gained relatively fast expansion, in comparison with other major economies over the past three years, as the average growth rate between 2020 and 2022, stood at 4,5%, higher than the global three-year average of 1,8%.

In 2021, China's GDP contributed over 30%, to world economic growth. In 2022, the economy remained the second largest in the world. Officials said, China's 3% growth in 2022 was relatively fast in light of unexpected situations and in contrast to major economies such as The U.S., Germany and Japan.

China's travel industry saw robust recovery, as hundreds of millions of people journeyed across the country, to their respective hometowns during the week-long spring festival holiday, which ended on Friday.

According to The Ministry of Culture and Tourism China recorded 308 million domestic tourist visits, over the one-week holiday, up 23,1% year on year, recovering to 88,6, compared to the same period in 2019. 

Meanwhile, domestic tourism revenue reached 375.84 billion yuan, up 30% year on yea., China's largest travel booking platform, reported fourfold growth in domestic and international travel orders during this year’s Spring Festival Holiday, reaching a three year peak.

Indonesian Begins Chairmanship of ASEAN 2023

Indonesia has officially begun its Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Indonesia's Chairmanship will uphold the theme "ASEAN Matters Epicentrum of Growth",  as Indonesia is aiming to consolidate economic cooperations with both ASEAN member and non-member countries, to cement the role of ASEAN as an engine of global economic growth.

On Sunday, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo officially kicked off Indonesia's Chairmanship of The Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2023. During the kick-off event, President Widodo admitted that chairing ASEAN this year, will be no easy task, as the global economy is undergoing many difficulties.

Both The World Bank and IMF, forecasting a potential global recession this year, amid continuing energy, food, and financial crisis, sparked by the Russia-Ukraine war and the ongoing pandemic.

But as Indonesia's Chairmanship will uphold the theme, "ASEAN Matters, Epicentrum of Growth", President Widodo said he's confident that Indonesia can consolidate The ASEAN's ability, to become an engine for global growth, and maintain peace and stability in The Indo-Pacific Region.

Chile Environmental Art in Santiago

Chilean environmental organizations and artists launched The Art'Chipiélago Humboldt Campaign in Santiago. Celebrating the lake archipelago region of the country and calling for the creation of a marine protected areas.

At the entrance to the museum of fine arts, the exhibition displays works of art based on the native flora and fauna of the region.

A week ago, the Chilean government rejected the Dominga mining and port project due to its environmental impact which was going to be installed in the archipelago.

Local artist Naijem painted maritime scenes in vivid colors to attract attention and raise awareness.