Global Recession - Overview


Informally, a national recession is a period of declining economic output. In a 1974 New York Times article, Julius Shiskin suggested several rules of thumb to identify a recession, which included two successive quarterly declines in gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the nation's output. This two-quarter metric is now a commonly held definition of a recession. In the United States, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is regarded as the authority which identifies a recession and which takes into account several measures in addition to GDP growth before making an assessment. In many developed nations other than USA, the two-quarter rule is also used for identifying a recession.

Whereas a national recession is identified by two quarters of decline, defining a global recession is more difficult, because developing nations are expected to have a higher GDP growth than developed nations. According to IMF, the real GDP growth of the emerging and developing countries is on an uptrend and that of advanced economies is on a downtrend since late 1980s. The world growth is projected to slow from 5% in 2007 to 3.75% in 2008 and to just over 2% in 2009. Downward revisions in GDP growth vary across regions. Among the most affected are commodity exporters, and countries with acute external financing and liquidity problems. Countries in East Asia (including China) have suffered smaller declines because their financial situations are more robust. They have benefited from falling commodity prices and they have initiated a shift toward macroeconomic policy easing.

The IMF estimates that global recessions seem to occur over a cycle lasting between 8 and 10 years. During what the IMF terms the past three global recessions of the last three decades, global per capita output growth was zero or negative.

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