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The World’s Biggest Economies Get a Jolt of Government Spending

Pound Traders Face New Reality As Rapid Moves Become The Norm
Photographer: Miles Willis/Bloomberg

Governments across the world are starting to use more fiscal firepower to boost economies, though the shift may not be happening fast enough to appease central bankers who say they’re sick of carrying the burden of stimulus alone.

In more than half of the world’s 20 biggest economies, analysts now expect looser budgets this year — in other words, bigger deficits or smaller surpluses — than they did six months ago, according to a Bloomberg survey of economist forecasts.

Asian economies like China and South Korea are using fiscal policy to counter the menace of the coronavirus, which has shut down swaths of industry and devastated supply chains, while governments in the U.K. and Russia have ditched long-held commitments to austerity.

The world remains far from an across-the-board easing. Japan recently raised sales taxes, Germany still holds its surplus sacred, and U.S. policy is gridlocked by upcoming elections. And some of the change in budget forecasts are a consequence of weaker growth expectations, rather than higher spending or lower taxes.