Happiness, according to some psychologists, is a product of reality exceeding one’s expectations. If so, 2023 has been quite a cheery year — at least for economists. Citi’s Global Economic Surprise Index shows that this year’s projections have been consistently beaten by the actual data. The economic trends that have underpinned this reality also offer plenty of reasons to be optimistic for 2024. First, the international economy has displayed remarkable resilience. Since 2020 it has endured a pandemic, war in Europe and supply chain chaos — which together triggered the highest inflation and most aggressive interest rate-raising cycle in decades. Yet economies have adapted better than expected, and that continued in 2023. In the third quarter the world’s gross domestic product was more than 9 per cent larger than pre-pandemic levels, according to Fitch Ratings’ global aggregate. Businesses rewired their logistics, Europe weaned itself further off Russian gas, and higher rates did not lead to a spike in unemployment. Such durability provides a strong foundation for the new year. Digital edition access Ad-free access

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