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The laws of economic gravity have not been repealed.

Growth through much of the post-pandemic period has defied traditional business-cycle analysis, and the noise-to-signal ratio in economic data remains extraordinarily high. Yet the sheer breadth and diversity of recession indicators that are currently flashing red in developed economies – inverted yield curves, tighter bank lending standards, weak manufacturing activity and depressed consumer confidence – would suggest that a deepening slowdown is underway.

We think global growth rates will slow sequentially in the third and fourth quarters as the lagging impact of higher rates hits home and household demand continues to normalise relative to pre-pandemic levels. Corporate labour hoarding and a slow wind-down in excess savings could push the bottoming-out point into early 2024, but the downturn – and eventual recovery – could be prolonged if inflation-fearing central banks keep policy settings in restrictive territory.

Spread between 2- and 10-year government bonds, %

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