The US budget deficit has reached a staggering $1.695 trillion for the 2023 fiscal year, marking a 23% increase from the previous year. This surge in deficit can be attributed to declining revenues, increased spending on social security and Medicare, and higher federal debt payments. It is the largest deficit since the COVID-19 pandemic-induced deficit of $2.78 trillion in 2021. Despite President Biden’s efforts to reduce the deficit in his first two years in office, current tax and spending legislation could push the deficit to $2.13 trillion by 2030. While this wouldn’t surpass the highest-ever level of $3.13 trillion in 2020, it remains a significant concern for the United States, which narrowly avoided default earlier this year.
Moving on to the European Central Bank (ECB), it has decided to leave interest rates unchanged, ending a streak of 10 consecutive rate increases. The ECB had raised rates by a total of 4.5 percentage points since July 2022 to combat high inflation. However, with inflation cooling and the economy significantly slowing down, fears of a recession have emerged. ECB President Christine Lagarde emphasized the importance of stability and stated that the decision to hold rates was unanimous, while not ruling out future rate hikes.
In other economic news, Sri Lanka has experienced a slowdown in inflation, with a decrease from 2.1% in August to 0.8% in September compared to the previous year. Germany has witnessed a decline in business activity for the fourth consecutive month, primarily driven by downturns in manufacturing and services. This trend is reflective of a broader decline in demand across the Eurozone, raising concerns about a potential recession. Additionally, the US economy grew by 4.9% in the third quarter, driven by higher wages resulting from a tight labor market.
Overall, these developments in the US budget deficit, ECB rates, and global economic activity highlight the challenges and risks faced by economies worldwide.