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World Economic Survey 1972

Current Economic Development

image of World Economic Survey 1972

World Economic Survey 1972 complements the documents prepared in connection with the biennial appraisal of progress under the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Decade. According to the Survey, an upsurge in production which got under way in the second half of 1971 has continued into the early months of 1973 and is projected to continue, at least for this year. Despite the breakdown of the international monetary system in August 1971 and the uncertainty that has prevailed ever since, international trade expanded with great vigour in 1972 and seems likely to continue on an upward trend in 1973. In a number of places, energy shortages have emerged, and in the face of the continuing high rate of increase in demand, there is now growing concern about an energy crisis. Meanwhile, both unemployment and price inflation rates remain above tolerable limits. The latter is generally recognized as a major structural problem among the developing countries.

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Recent trends in the developing countries

In a year of marked contrasts, it is probable that the developing countries maintained their over-all average rate of growth in 1972, notwithstanding a disappointing agricultural outturn, a record increase in import prices and a great deal of uncertainty stemming from the international monetary situation. As indicated in the previous chapters, this uncertainty did not prevent an upsurge in demand in the more advanced countries, raising imports not only of manufactured goods but also of primary products. This was reflected in the prices of most commodities, and in most developing countries the export sector became the main stimulus of growth.

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