Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021
Pedestrians on the school run in Coalville, U.K. (Photographer: Darren Staples/Bloomberg)

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

The global economy’s worst year since World War II is ending on a bleak note for millions of people -- despite the prospects of a rebound that a coronavirus vaccine could offer.

In the past week, data revealed how the crisis is reaping a debilitating toll on Americans’ savings, while also destroying hundreds of thousands of U.K. jobs, particularly in the hospitality industry.

Accompanying those glimpses of gloom were hints of hope that the world might just be about to leave the worst of the damage behind it. High-frequency data suggested stabilization in advanced economies in December, while Chinese retail and industrial reports showed strengthening. In Norway, policy makers even dared to dream that they might yet be able to raise interest rates one day.

Here are some of the charts that appeared on Bloomberg this week on the latest developments in the global economy:

U.S.

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

Americans’ cash cushions have been declining for months, most acutely among low-income households, underscoring the already-precarious financial situation of the millions of people who may soon lose their jobless benefits.

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

America’s economy is facing a zombie recovery, even with a vaccine.

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

The U.S. Treasury Department designated Switzerland and Vietnam as currency manipulators for the first time, while keeping China on a watch list, in the Trump administration’s final foreign-exchange policy report. Swiss and Vietnamese official

Europe

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

The hospitality industry has borne the brunt of the pandemic on the U.K. labor market, accounting for more than a third of the drop in employees. The total number of people on payrolls was 819,000 below pre-pandemic levels in November, with accommodation and food services alone seeing a drop of almost 300,000.

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

Norway’s central bank said it may be able to raise interest rates earlier than previously thought, reinforcing the view it will be the first among holders of the world’s major currencies to tighten policy as the economy recovers.

Asia

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

China pulled further ahead of other major economies in November as industrial output and retail sales strengthened, reinforcing expectations of healthy growth in 2021.

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

As a pandemic ravaged the world, Asian economies led by Hong Kong and Singapore topped a ranking of most-efficient health care systems.

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021


China’s assault on Australia’s wine industry is becoming quite the buzzkill.

Emerging Markets

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

Emerging-market currencies are the most mispriced, according to a Bloomberg Economics’ model that estimates fair values based on economic fundamentals.

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

Brazil’s central bank forecast inflation will accelerate toward target in the next two years even with higher interest rates, the latest indication yet that record-low borrowing costs may not last.

World

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

Alternative, high-frequency data show economic activity in several of the world’s largest advanced economies stabilized after weakening earlier in December.

Charting Global Economy: Bleak Reality Obscures Hope for 2021

The pandemic has hastened the troubling practice of dumping vessels, with their crew and hazardous materials still on board.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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