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The Global Economy Is Slow... But Steadier Than Ever

New research shows global growth volatility has reached new lows, and central banks are partly responsible
The container ship Humen Bridge, operated by Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd.
Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

It’s not difficult to come to the conclusion that, economically speaking, we are living in very turbulent times. China’s great slowdown. Europe’s persistent woes. Brexit.

Yet on a bigger scale, all that’s just noise blocking the signal that the global economy is less volatile than any period in the modern era. This is the conclusion of new research led by David Hensley, director of global economics at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York.

Hensley’s work measures standard deviations of quarterly, annualized gross domestic product growth for major developed and emerging markets, plus a selection of regions. The sample compares the middle of the business cycle leading up to the Great Recession with the middle of the next cycle, i.e 2013 to 2016.