The IMF expects global supply chain disruptions to last well into 2022

According to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) World Economic Outlook report, the poor performance of the supply chain, the impact of the Omicron variant, and inflation will be decisive factors that will dampen the growth of the global economy in 2022.

Global growth is expected to decrease from 5.9% in 2021 to 4.4% in 2022; that is, half a percentage point less than what was projected in the October edition of the World Economic Outlook (WEO report) for 2022.

The decline will be most pronounced in the US – which is expected to grow by 4%, i.e. 1.2 percentage points less than in the October estimate – the largest drop for any major country or major group of countries for which the IMF makes forecasts.

The IMF's Gita Gopinath said that the huge federal economic stimulus was expected to lead to higher inflation, but that the persistent supply chain disruptions had pushed the inflation to its highest level in a generation. US inflation topped 7% in December, according to an earlier Labor Department report, the highest since 1982.

In fact, the IMF estimates that the damage is already considerable, with global supply chain disruptions set to shave 0.5 to 1 percentage point off global gross product growth in 2021, as well as adding 1 percentage point to basic inflation, which excludes food and energy prices.

Other countries also suffered significant reductions. The IMF cut its outlook for China by 0.8 percentage points to 4.8%. Meanwhile, the Eurozone growth fell by 0.4 percentage points, led by a 0.8 percentage point cut in Germany's growth.

Tipping point
Global supply chains are approaching a tipping point right now that will help determine whether the global logistics crisis will soon subside or continue to impact inflation well into 2022 and dampen growth. The IMF doesn't have high expectations for a turnaround. "The industry outlook is that supply disruptions will remain high until the middle of this year, and then gradually improve," stated Gopinath.

Port traffic shows that container congestion continues to disrupt the chain. The number of vessels queuing to dock in the west coast of the US, at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, continued to stretch into Mexican waters, adding 111 vessels as of late January 23, i.e. nearly double the number in July 2021.



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