Analyst: Earthquake Poses Minor Threat to Global Economy

March 15, 2011
Some markets could realize gains from production delays in Japan.

Japan's slow economic growth over the past several years means the global impact from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami could be relatively minor, says Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS Global Insight.

Early estimates suggest the negative impact on global growth in 20011 will be between 0.1% and 0.2%, with a correspondingly small boost to growth next year, Behravesh wrote in his analysis.

Most disruptions will be related to trade flows, but because Japan's exports and imports comprise a small share of GDP, the impact will likely be limited.

Damages related to the earthquake could stress global supply chains, particularly in the automotive, telecommunications and consumer electronics sectors, Behravesh explains.

But some sectors of the economy could potentially realize gains from the situation. Lower Japanese growth could temporarily lower global energy demand and prices.

In addition, disruptions in Japanese automotive and steel production may result in a demand boost for these products from other sources, including the rest of Asia, the United States and Europe.

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