PARIS, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The global economy faces a depressing prospect for the year ahead after a recent spate of gloomy results for countries and corporations and the failure of European leaders to convince the markets that the eurozone's debt crisis is close to being resolved.
Forecasts by the International Monetary Fund and leading banks have been revised downcast almost on a monthly basis. A year ago the IMF saw the global economy growing by 4 percent in 2012, cut to 2.7 percent in June and its latest assessment is much worse.
"The world economic outlook at the moment is not particularly rosy. It is quite gloomy," IMF head Christine Lagarde said at the U.S. State Department last week.
"There is no economy in the world, whether low-income countries, emerging markets, middle-income countries or super-advanced economies that will be immune to the crisis that we see not only unfolding but escalating."
Chilean economist Sebastian Edwards, a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles and former top official at the World Bank likens the global economy to a car running on a number of cylinders and currently they all seem to be misfiring.
The 27-nation European Union, the world's largest economic block, may already have slipped into a second recession, without ever recovering from the recession of 2009.
Only Germany and Sweden look like recording modest positive growth next year.
"At this point, a eurozone recession is certain," New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini, known as "Doctor Doom" for his correct prediction of the financial crash of 2008, commented last week.
"While its depth and length cannot be predicted, a continued credit crunch, sovereign-debt problems, lack of competitiveness and fiscal austerity imply a serious downturn."
Europe's strongest economies, including Germany and France, have been placed on notice that their triple-A credit ratings face a downgrade. On top of the sovereign debt crisis, countries across Europe are slashing plans for public spending which threatens to take $300 billion out of the European economy next year.
China, which contributed no less than 40 percent of global growth this year, is slowing fast as the property boom deflates and exports sales to troubled Europe collapse. Since Aug. 31, exports have shrunk so fast that container shipping rates from China to Europe have dropped 39 percent.
The Purchasing Managers Index, a closely watched leading indicator, has dropped to less than 50, which signals declining demand and output.