World Economy

Global economy will recover in the second half of 2020, says UBS Global Wealth Management

Key Points
  • Global growth will see "significant recovery going into the second half of 2020, particularly in the fourth quarter," says Adrian Zuercher, APAC head of asset allocation at UBS Global Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office.
  • Central banks around the world have moved back "to printing money, expanding their balance sheets and lowering interest rates," which will all have a positive influence on the world economy, he added.
  • Additional U.S. levies on Chinese exports will go into effect on Dec. 15 if the "phase one" trade deal is not officially signed by then.
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Global growth will recover in the second half of 2020 as the trade war between Washington and Beijing eases and central banks' monetary policies come into effect said Adrian Zuercher, APAC head of asset allocation at UBS Global Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office.

"There is a lot of fog around trade, influencing our forecast for economic growth," Zuercher told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Thursday. Tariffs the U.S. and China have imposed on each other are among the firm's "key risks," said Zuercher.

But while the environment is currently slow, he said global growth will see a "significant recovery going into the second half of 2020, particularly in the fourth quarter."

The two sides agreed to a "phase one" deal in October, but officials in Beijing say they don't anticipate sitting down to discuss a "phase two" deal before the U.S. election, in part because they want to see if President Donald Trump wins a second term. Trump himself said Tuesday that it might be better to wait until after the 2020 election to strike a trade deal with China.

"We see that the U.S. economy has actually slowed down and we see a relatively good chance that there may be a first phase deal and maybe the December tariffs get pushed out or actually even removed. That should be good enough for the economy to slowly recover," said Zuercher.

The next tariff deadline is Dec. 15 but it is still uncertain whether the two sides will pen an official agreement before that date. If the two sides cannot reach a deal by mid-December, then additional U.S. levies on Chinese exports will go into effect.

Since the world's two largest economies started their trade war in early 2018, Asia has seen a downward trend, said Zuercher, but trade was not the only contributing factor to a global slowdown.

It was also during that time when central banks "started to remove some of the stimulus and started (to) actively to shrink balance sheet globally," he said.

As 2019 comes to an end, Zuercher said central banks around the world have moved back "to printing money, expanding their balance sheets and lowering interest rates," which will all have a positive influence on the world economy.