The August 2006 issue of the NIME Outlook for the World Economy presents a 2006-2012 macroeconomic outlook for the major areas of the world. The outlook was produced using nime, the Federal Planning Bureau’s macroeconometric world model. The August 2006 issue also features a stochastic evaluation of the projection’s main results for the euro area, for the group of countries comprising Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom, for the US and for Japan.
After a year of frail economic growth in 2005, euro area gdp growth should rebound in 2006 while consumer price inflation should remain above the 2% upper limit of the European Central Bank’s definition of price stability. The pick-up in growth is largely based on a rise in employment, on positive real wage growth and on continued favourable monetary conditions. While the area’s gdp should expand at an average annual rate of 1.8% over 2006-2012, growth rates tend to decline from 2% in 2007 to 1.4% in 2012; the area’s average annual growth rate is thus only 0.1%-point lower than the 1999-2005 average, notwithstanding the declining - but still positive - growth rate of the working-age population. Consumer price inflation should come out at an average rate of 1.8% per annum over the period, edging up to 1.9% at the end of the period. The short-term interest rate is expected to rise from a year average level of 3.1% in 2006 to 4.2% in 2012 as the euro area’s monetary authorities move to ensure price stability. Assuming no policy changes, the area’s fiscal deficit should recede only gradually from 2.4% of gdp in 2006 to 1.7% of gdp in 2012.
Over the 2006-2012 period, gdp growth should average 2.8% per annum for the group of countries comprising the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark. Real gdp in the United States is expected to rise at an average annual rate of 2.7% over the same period. However, growth will most likely be uneven from year to year as, under current us laws and policies, a number of significant tax cut provisions should expire and stymie domestic demand growth over the projection period. At the same time, important fiscal and external imbalances should persist. Real gdp in Japan is expected to progress at an average annual rate of 2.1% over the 2006-2012 period. Consumer price inflation should reach a year average rate of 0.5% in 2006 and average 1.5% over the projection horizon. Japan’s growth momentum should fall off noticeably by the end of the projection horizon as the ageing of the country’s population leads to a decline in the labour supply.
This issue also features a stochastic evaluation of the outlook’s results. The nime economic outlooks published to date present results in the form of point estimates: the model result for a specific variable for any given year is represented by a single figure, independently of the risks surrounding the result. The stochastic evaluation that is presented in this issue’s Focus now provides the reader with a precise evaluation of the risks surrounding the projection’s main results. These risks are shown in the form of confidence intervals around outcomes for the main economic variables of the major economic areas. The confidence intervals indicate, for instance, that by the end of the projection period (i.e. in 2012), there is a 95% probability of gdp growth coming out between 0.3 and 2.6% for the euro area; between 1.4 and 3.6% for the Western non-euro EU Member States; between 1.5 and 3.2% for the United States; and between -0.1 and 1.9% for Japan. Similarly, the 95% confidence interval around consumer price inflation in 2012 lies between 1.3 and 2.6% for the euro area; between 1.1 and 2.9% for the Western non-euro EU Member States; between 1.4 and 2.2% for the United States; and between 1 and 3% for Japan. Note that the level of uncertainty increases over time, leading to wider confidence intervals in 2012 than in earlier years of the projection period.