Pandemic’s economic impact “pales” compared to population decline, OECD says – dpa international

In a Malaysian train station shortly after the easing of Covid-related restrictions (Simon Roughneen)

While the coronavirus pandemic upended state spending plans and left economies reeling, its impact is likely to pale in comparison to challenges such as ageing populations, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Paris-based group’s secretariat said on Tuesday that before the pandemic, governments were facing health spending rises of over two percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) between now and 2060 and around the same for pensions in countries with what the OECD labelled “unfavourable demographics.” By comparison, recently accrued government debt to pay for pandemic-related social and health spending is likely to add “only about 1/2 percentage point of GDP to long-run fiscal pressure in the median country,” according to the OECD.

World population growth to tail off, changing global balance of power – dpa international

Pedestrians on Grafton Street in Dublin (Simon Roughneen)

DUBLIN — Long-term predictions about global demographic expansion will prove overblown as deeper shifts reshape geopolitics, according to projections published on Wednesday in The Lancet, a British medical journal. The world’s population will increase from the current 7.8 billion to a peak of 9.7 billion by 2064, before falling back to 8.8 billion by the century’s end, going by newly-published modelling undertaken by academics from the University of Washington (UWA). The trends suggest that China’s 2017 population of 1.4 billion could drop to 730 million – steeper than UN projections, which give China a population of around one billion in 2100. Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is on track to triple to 3.07 billion, leading to it becoming an “increasingly powerful continent on the geopolitical stage.” Though China will overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy by 2035, the US will reclaim top spot decades later, after China’s working-age population plummets to 350 million.