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World Economic Survey 1991

Current Trends and Policies in the World Economy

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1990 was an extraordinary years of shocks and contrasts for the world economy: the Gulf conflict, a sharp increase in energy prices, and a sudden erosion of consumer and business confidence in much of the world. Some developed economies went into recession and others nearly did. Many developing economies continued to languish under the burden of problem that persisted over most of the last decade.

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Trends in global output and policies

Political changes and military conflicts, of which the Gulf crisis was the most spectacular example, affected growth of output in many countries in 1990. In some countries, the impact of the Gulf crisis was direct and devastating. For many others, it increased their economic difficulties, reduced growth and dimmed growth prospects. For the world economy the immediate impact of the crisis was minor but it was a grim reminder of the vulnerability of the economy to external shocks. In Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union the dramatic political changes that began in 1989 had an overwhelming impact on the growth of output in 1990. In a number of countries in Africa civil wars and famines made the goal of economic growth largely irrelevant.

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