Top international headlines: World Bank sees slower global growth

The US Fed sends signals of interest rate hikes, Covid-19 dampens global growth forecasts and more!

Supply chain shortages knock Volkswagen sales, while BMW adapts to market conditions. Airbus retains its place as the largest jet maker, delivering 611 jets in 2021. Meanwhile, the World Bank forecasts a slower economic recovery as Covid-19 variants take their toll on countries. And the UK Parliament is not yet convinced of the need for banks to launch a digital currency.

UK lawmakers block BOE’s digital currency
A panel of lawmakers from the UK Parliament delivered a blow to the Bank of England’s effort to launch a digital currency, saying officials have given no convincing reason it’s needed.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee raised concerns the project might threaten the stability of the banking system and inject the central bank into controversial debates on privacy, reports Bloomberg.

Mixed outcome from supply chain shortages
Volkswagen has posted its lowest sales figures in 10 years in 2021 at 8.9 million deliveries, and said it expected supply chain conditions to remain volatile in the first half of this year.

By contrast, luxury carmaker BMW saw record deliveries of 2.21 million vehicles from the BMW brand, a success attributed in part to its ability to adapt to supply chain shortages, reports Reuters.

Covid-19 dampens global growth forecasts
Covid-19 flare-ups, diminished policy support, and lingering supply-chain bottlenecks will see the global economic recovery cool more than previously estimated in 2022, after last year’s expansion clocked the fastest post-recession pace in eight decades, according to the World Bank.

Global GDP will probably increase 4.1 percent this year, less than a 4.3 percent forecast in June, according to the semi-annual Global Economic Prospects report.

Airbus keeps largest jet maker status
Airbus kept its crown as the world's largest jet maker for the third year running as it outstripped Boeing by delivering 611 jets in 2021, up eight percent from the year before, according to company data.

The numbers gave Airbus a lead on revenue-generating deliveries - the industry's main yardstick – after Boeing handed over 302 jets in the first 11 months.

Reuters reported last week that Airbus's auditors, who must validate each delivery, were torn between a tally of 605 or 611 jets after last-minute handovers took the total above an official target of 600. The outcome confirms the top end of the range.

The US Fed plans to keep inflation in check
US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said that a rapidly healing economy no longer needed as much help from the central bank and that keeping inflation in check – including by raising interest rates – would be critical for enabling a stable expansion that benefitted workers.

The economy is growing swiftly, but it has been buffeted by repeated waves of Covid-19 and a surge in inflation that has proved stronger and longer-lasting than economists expected. Workers are finding jobs and winning wage increases, but the rising costs of housing, fuel, food and furniture are pinching shoppers and tanking consumer confidence, reports the New York Times.