Macro Briefing: 17 January 2023

* China’s economic growth slows to 3.0% in 2022, near historic lows
* China reports smaller population, first decline in decades
* Will China’s reopening trigger a sharp rise in oil price? Maybe not
* Putin is “weaponizing food”, has global implications, warns head of fertilizer firm
* Japan rearming again to counter China’s ambitions to control Asian-Pacific region
* Corporate executives, economists at Davos meeting expect global recession
* More central-bank digital currencies are being tested
* Microsoft plans to add artificial-intelligent tools to all its products
* Bitcoin rallies sharply year to date after rough 2022
* Some analysts predict gold will rise to near record high this year:

Economists are upgrading previously gloomy outlooks for the global economy as China reopens and inflation shows more signs of peaking. “The US would still experience a recession, as we predict slightly negative growth in three quarters (Q2 -Q4 2023), but it would be quite shallow, as annual 2023 GDP growth would now remain positive,” says Christian Keller, who oversees economic research at Barclays.

China’s population has started shrinking, signaling a major shift for the country’s economy and the world. Demographers say the slide is irreversible for the decades ahead. “In the long run, we are going to see a China the world has never seen,” says Wang Feng, a professor of sociology at the University of California at Irvine who specializes in China’s demographics. “It will no longer be the young, vibrant, growing population. We will start to appreciate China, in terms of its population, as an old and shrinking population.” The shift highlights expectations that India is on track to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation this year.