World Economic Situation and Prospects 2008 (WESP 2008)

According to WESP 2008, the world economy is facing serious challenges in sustaining the strong pace of economic growth seen over the past few years. While the baseline forecast is for world economic growth to moderate somewhat in 2008, the risks associated with the bursting of the housing bubble in the United States, the related unfolding credit crisis, the decline of the dollar, large global imbalances and high oil prices are all pointing to the downside. The report draws some lessons from the global financial turmoil of 2007, which was triggered by the meltdown of sub-prime mortgages in the United States, and points out that the various measures adopted by central banks of the major economies did not address the root causes of the turmoil: the huge global imbalances. In an alternative scenario, which takes into account the possibility of a sharper-than-expected decline in house prices in the United States and a hard landing of the US dollar, the United States economy would fall into a recession, while global growth would be significantly lower than the baseline. In addition to trends in international trade and capital flows, WESP 2008 also covers the latest progress and policy issues related to international trade negotiations and reform of the international financial system.