The Economist: Which OECD economy did best in 2023

10:10 21.12.2023 •

The most interesting thing in this table “Which OECD economy did best in 2023” (the collective West) is how Germany has fallen economically to 27th place! The first place for Greece also requires an explanation – there is a bubble on the stock market, and as soon as it bursts, which happens with every bubble, Greece will fall to the bottom of the table...

The Economist has compiled data on five economic and financial indicators — inflation, “inflation breadth”, GDP, jobs and stockmarket performance — for 35 mostly rich countries. The table below shows the rankings, and some surprising results.

Almost everyone expected a global recession in 2023, as central bankers fought high inflation. They were wrong. Global gdp has probably grown by 3%. Stockmarkets have risen by 20%.

Top of the charts, for the second year running, is Greece — a remarkable result for an economy that was until recently a byword for mismanagement. The United States comes third. Canada and Chile are not far behind. Meanwhile, lots of the sluggards are in northern Europe, including Britain, Germany, Sweden and, bringing up the rear, Finland.

The American stockmarket, filled with firms poised to benefit from the revolution in artificial intelligence, would have done well. In fact, adjusted for inflation it is a middling performer. The Australian stockmarket, filled with commodities firms managing a comedown from high prices in 2022, underperformed. Share prices in Finland have slumped. Japan’s firms, by contrast, are experiencing something of a renaissance. The country’s stockmarket is one of the best performers this year, rising in real terms by nearly 20%.

But for glorious equity returns, look thousands of miles west — to Greece. There the real value of the stockmarket has increased by over 40%. Investors have looked afresh at Greek companies as the government implements a series of pro-market reforms. Although the country is still a lot poorer than it was before its almighty bust in the early 2010s, in a recent statement the imf, once Greece’s nemesis, praised “the digital transformation of the economy” and “increasing market competition”.


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