The United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 report underscored that "strengthening global cooperation" is central to advancing sustainable development. Photo: File.
INTERNATIONAL – The global economy will continue to grow at a steady pace of around 3 percent in 2019 and 2020 amid signs that global growth has peaked, the United Nations said Monday.

However, "a worrisome combination of development challenges could further undermine growth," according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019, which was launched Monday at the UN headquarters in New York. 

Global growth is expected to remain steady at 3 percent in 2019 and 2020, after an expansion of 3.1 percent in 2018, said the report. 

Growth in the United States is projected to decelerate to 2.5 percent in 2019 and 2 percent in 2020, "as the impulse from fiscal stimulus in 2018 wanes," it noted, adding that "steady growth of 2 percent is projected for the European Union, although risks are tilted to the downside, including a potential fallout from Brexit." 

"Growth in China is expected to moderate from 6.6 percent in 2018 to 6.3 percent in 2019, with policy support partly offsetting the negative impact of trade tensions," it said. 

Several large commodity-exporting countries, such as Brazil, Nigeria and the Russian Federation, are projected to see a moderate pickup in growth in 2019-2020, albeit from a low base. 

However, economic growth is uneven and is often failing to reach where it is most needed, said the report. Per capita incomes will stagnate or grow only marginally in 2019 in several parts of Africa, Western Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Even where per capita growth is strong, economic activity is often driven by core industrial and urban regions, leaving peripheral and rural areas behind. 

"Eradicating poverty by 2030 will require both double-digit growth in Africa and steep reductions in income inequality," said the report. "Further clouding the prospects are a confluence of risks with the potential to severely disrupt economic activity and inflict significant damage on longer-term development prospects," the report added. 

These risks include waning support for multilateral approaches; the escalation of trade policy disputes; financial instabilities linked to elevated levels of debt; and rising climate risks, as the world experiences an increasing number of extreme weather events, it said. "Alongside various short-term risks, there is an increasing urgency to deal with much more fundamental problems. 

What we have hitherto viewed as long-term challenges, such as climate change, have become immediate short-term risks," said Elliott Harris, UN chief economist and assistant secretary-general for economic development, at the press conference of the report's launching. 

The report underscored that "strengthening global cooperation" is central to advancing sustainable development. It also warned that global trade tensions pose a threat to the economic outlook, an abrupt tightening of global financial conditions "could spark financial turmoil" and climate change risks "are still not integrated into economic decision-making." 

XINHUA