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Economic stories to watch in 2024, part 1 of 2

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 8 January 2024 2 min read

With 2024 now underway, it’s a good time to take a look at some of the top economic stories to watch over the next 12 months. In part one of this two-part series, we focus on what is happening, or might happen, on the international stage.

War and oil prices  - It didn’t happen in 2023, but oil prices rising above US$100 remains a  possibility in 2024. Real or feared energy supply disruptions brought on by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine or a widening of the Israel-Hamas war (witness the recent attacks on shipping in the Red Sea by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels) could lead to a price spike that triggers a global recession.

OPEC and oil prices - With that said, OPEC+ could reverse its policy of containing the supply of crude at any moment and send oil prices tumbling in the other direction.

China’s fragile recovery - The World Bank’s latest outlook for China foresees slower growth for the Middle Kingdom in 2024 as it continues to struggle with an ailing property sector, sluggish domestic consumption and high levels of debt left over from the pandemic.

U.S. politics - It’s no secret that what happens south of the border tends to have major implications for the Canadian economy. In addition to watching the degree to which higher interest rates slow what has proven to be a remarkably resilient U.S. economy, analysts will be assessing the potential economic impact of the November election with a rerun of the Biden-Trump battle of 2020 not out of the question.

Economic cold war - Speaking of the U.S. and China, the cold economic war between them may get worse in 2024. There is also the possibility that tensions between China and Taiwan could escalate with negative consequences for the global economy.

Decarbonization - Pushed to the backburner (no pun intended) during the pandemic and the battle against inflation, efforts to decarbonize the global economy are likely to once again pick up steam (ok, that one was intended).

Weather - With El Niño and other factors in play, concerns have been raised that 2024 might be a particularly bad year for drought and extreme weather events. If this proves correct, it would push food prices higher and create significant challenges for many agricultural operators.

Answer to the previous trivia question: Of the 38 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Iceland has the highest employment rate.

Today’s trivia question: How many people live in Taiwan?

Global GDP growth is projected to slow from an estimated 2.7% in 2023 to 2.4% in 2024

Global GDP growth is projected to slow from an estimated 2.7% in 2023 to 2.4% in 2024

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