A year ago, economists were warning about the prospects of a hard landing for the world economy. Instead, falling inflation and surprisingly firm labour markets, especially in the US, mean there is no reason for central banks to hike economies into the rolling recessions so many feared.

The unexpected resilience of the US economy, despite much higher interest rates, was one of the big surprises of 2023. Far from falling into a recession, the US economy was buoyed along by consumers who kept spending, supported by ample savings (a legacy of the pandemic), falling inflation and surprisingly strong jobs growth...

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