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An update to these projections was published on March 31, 2009.
News release | Update (PDF)

About this site

About the report

The World Bank's twice-yearly Global Economic Prospects examines growth trends for the global economy and how they affect developing countries. The reports include three-year forecasts for the global economy as well as relevant scenarios. Topical annexes in this online publication cover industrial production, inflation, financial markets, trade, exchange rates and commodity markets.

The Global Economic Prospects is a World Bank Group flagship report.

About the authors

This report is a product of the Prospects Group in the Development Economics Vice Presidency of the World Bank. Its principal authors were Andrew Burns and Theo Janse van Rensburg.

The project was managed by Andrew Burns, under the direction of Hans Timmer and the guidance of Kaushik Basu.

Several people contributed substantively to the report. The modeling and data team was led by Theo Janse van Rensburg, assisted by Trung Thanh Bui, Muhammad Adil Islam and Irina Magyer. The projections, regional write-ups and subject annexes were produced by Dilek Aykut (Finance, Europe & Central Asia), John Baffes (Commodities), Damir Ćosić (Commodities), Allen Dennis (Sub-Saharan Africa and International Trade), Tehmina Shaukat Khan (Middle East & North Africa), Eung Ju Kim (Finance), Sanket Mohapatra (South Asia and Exchange Rates), Theo Janse van Rensburg (High-Income Countries), Cristina Savescu (Latin America & Caribbean and Industrial Production) and Ekaterine Vashakmadze (East Asia & the Pacific and Inflation).

Regional projections and annexes were produced in coordination with country teams, country directors, and the offices of the regional chief economists and PREM directors. The short-term commodity price forecasts were produced by John Baffes and Damir Ćosić. The remittances forecasts were produced by Gemechu Ayana Aga, Christian Eigen-Zucchi and Dilip K. Ratha. Simulations were performed by Trung Thanh Bui and Theo Janse van Rensburg.

The accompanying online publication, Prospects for the Global Economy, was produced by a team comprised of Marie-Anne Chambonnier, Muhammad Adil Islam, Vamsee Krishna Kanchi, Katherine Rollins, and Dana Vorisek, with technical support from David Horowitz, Ugendran Machakkalai, and Malarvishi Veerappan.

Cynthia Case-McMahon, Indira Chand, and Merrell Tuck-Primdahl managed media relations and the dissemination. Kristina Cathrine Mercado managed the publication process.

The regional sections benefited from the written input of the Bank's regional chief economists, PREM directors and their staff.


About the forecasts

Forecasts are prepared by staff of the World Bank in DECPG. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent.

World Bank global economic forecasts are published twice yearly in the January and June editions of the on-line publication Global Economic Prospects. The main report and its several regional and topical annexes, is available as a PDF and its content is replicated in an interactive form on-line at

The principle objective of the forecasting process is to illuminate the key forces acting in the global economy and its implications for developing countries, at present and over the medium term. Reflecting this objective, the main focus of attention is upon regional developments and impacts on groups of economically similar low- and middle-income countries.

A large volume of high-frequency data, concentrating upon industrial output, inflation, trade, and international finance data for some 100 developing countries – including short-term (6 month) forecasts for some of these variables – is used to help evaluate the international economic climate. Regional forecasts are constructed on the basis of approximately 160 separate country-specific forecasts. These are prepared by the DECPG staff in conjunction with World Bank country experts and are then aggregated and revised in a coherent model of the global economy. The medium-term forecasts are largely driven by the international investment cycle, macroeconomic policy considerations and other cyclical forces.

The medium-term forecasts are used as a starting point to inform the Bank’s long-term projections for developing countries. The long-term scenarios are more supply-side driven, taking into account demographic trends, sectoral shifts and productivity developments. They are used to project developing countries’ expected progress towards meeting their Millennium Development Goals published in the Global Monitoring Report and to identify areas where further policy reforms and international assistance may be required.


About the data

Overview: Consistent databases have been constructed for some 160 industrial and low-and-middle income countries, to facilitate cross-country and group comparative analysis, as well as to provide the foundation for simple projections models with the capacity to be aggregated from country to region to global levels. Such data efforts have a long history at the World Bank, going back to the late 1980s under the rubric of a Global Accounting Framework (GAF), which provided consistent structure for country-level datasets, building to global aggregates. The first DEC Analytic Database (DAD) included time series from 1960 to the mid-1980s covering real-side activity, savings and investment balances, and the international financing of those balances--segmented between the public and private sectors.

Today’s data system has been streamlined and simplified from the legacy databases, to accommodate modeling and forecasting work on desktop PCs, and to shorten the time requirements for completion of projection rounds. In broad terms, the essential elements for country databases are coverage of national accounts, prices, trade and balance of payments data, as well as other variables that serve to tie countries together in a global trade-linked forecasting model.

Key sources for time-series data: Data gleaned from World Bank Regional operations groups (“country desks”) covering both history and projections at a country level are harmonized and stored in “Live Data Bases” (LDBs) maintained by the Bank's Development Data Group (DECDG). And DAD, now-archived, comprises an important source for tapping deeper historical data at the country level when required. The Development Prospects Group’s (DECPG) TRADE database, generated internally, covers merchandise and services trade data, in value and volumes, price deflator series, as well as a breakout of goods trade into energy and non-energy components. All of these databases draw from World Bank, as well as other International Agency sources, including the ILO, IMF, OECD and the UN, as well as National Statistical Agencies at the country level.

National Income Accounts data (NIA)

Sources: The preferred source for NIA data (covering the demand side of GDP) is the World Bank’s World Development Indicators database (WDI), which in turn draws upon the Bank’s Regional LDBs. LDBs are used to extend forward WDI data that has usually been “frozen” at a certain time for purposes of external publication. All WDI historic data is based in U.S. dollar terms (USD), and is converted to local currency (LCU) using relevant exchange rates.

Process: Exchange rates at the country level are sourced from the IMF (International Financial Statistics: IFS) data. Prices, including CPI and WPI are sourced from IFS.

NIA data in LCU (both nominal and constant local-currency terms) is gapfilled, and where necessary, extended back in history using the counterpart DAD time-series. LCU-based price deflators are then calculated as identities based on the gapfilled nominal and “real” series. Deflators are subsequently rebased to the appropriate base year (currently 1995), and from these, the real USD and LCU series are recalculated as identities based on the rebased price deflators, the nominal series and the exchange rate.


Trade and Balance of Payments data (BOP)

The preferred source for BOP data is the IMF’s Balance of Payments database. This is supplemented by several other sources, including IFS, DECPG TRADE and DAD data systems, as well as National Agency sources for selected countries.

Process:Series drawn from IMF-BOP is gap-filled and extended--if required--using corresponding series from the (more-timely) IFS database, while deeper-history may be drawn from DAD. Export and import price data is extended using DECPG TRADE. Terms of trade series are generated as an identity of the export- and import merchandise trade deflator series. Goods export and import volumes are calculated using USD level and trade price series. Non-factor services price deflators are generated as an identity linking the USD deflator though country-specific exchange rates. Real non-factor service data in USD is generated as an identity of the USD nominal series and the USD-based price deflators. Finally, exports / imports of goods and non-factor services series in nominal and real terms are the sum of the merchandise and services trade components. And deflators for theses series are calculated from the ratios of the nominal- to real levels.

Other data

The preferred source for population historical data is the United Nations population data system (POP), containing extensive histories, as well as very long-term projections. Labor force information is sourced from the International Labor Organization (ILO) databases. And the primary source for data related to government accounts is the IMF’s Government Financial Statistics database (GFS).


Disclaimer and legal matters

This volume is a product of the staff of the World Bank. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent.

The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. The boundaries, colors, denominations, and other information shown on any map in this work do not imply any judgment on the part of the World Bank concerning the legal status of any territory or the endorsement or acceptance of such boundaries.

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