Weighed down by trade tensions, policy uncertainty and less favorable financial conditions, the global economy has continued to struggle in the first few months of 2019. However, many of the factors that have depressed growth are lifting, and we are starting to see hints of "green shoots" (or at least stabilization) in recent data. For the first time in nearly a year, prospects, while still subdued and increasingly divergent, are looking less gloomy.
The biggest change has been in policy. A year ago, confidence in the global economy led global policymakers to move too far and too fast, ultimately hurting growth. The pendulum is now swinging the other way. Central banks are no longer actively tightening policy and even appear to be leaning toward easier policies, focusing on stimulating demand rather than nonexistent inflation pressures. Governmental budgets are also turning more stimulative. As a result, last year's global stock selloff has largely reversed, and other measures of financial market stress are relaxing.
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