The global economy suffered its lowest growth in a decade, slipping to 2.3 percent in 2019, due to prolonged trade disputes, a UN report said Thursday.
According to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020, global growth of 2.5 percent in 2020 is possible if risks are kept at bay, but a flareup of trade tensions, financial turmoil or an escalation of geopolitical tensions could derail a recovery.
A prolonged weakness in global economic activity may cause significant setbacks for sustainable development, including the goals to eradicate poverty and create decent jobs for all, says the report.
Meanwhile, pervasive inequalities and the deepening climate crisis are fueling growing discontent in many parts of the world, adds the report.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warns, "These risks could inflict severe and long-lasting damage on development prospects."
In the United States, recent interest rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve may lend some support to economic activity.
However, given persistent policy uncertainty, weak business confidence, and waning fiscal stimulus, GDP growth in the U.S. is forecast to slow from 2.2 percent in 2019 to 1.7 percent in 2020.
In the European Union, manufacturing will continue to be held back by global uncertainty, but this will be partially offset by steady growth in private consumption, allowing a modest rise in GDP growth from 1.4 percent in 2019 to 1.6 percent in 2020.
Despite significant headwinds, East Asia remains the world's fastest-growing region and the largest contributor to global growth, according to the report.
In China, GDP growth is projected to moderate gradually from 6.1 percent in 2019 to 6.0 percent in 2020 and 5.9 percent in 2021, supported by more accommodative monetary and fiscal policies.
Growth in other large emerging countries, including Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia, and Turkey, is expected to gain some momentum in 2020.