South Africa has the third-most miserable economy in the world, according to a new index
- According to Bloomberg's Misery Index, which ranks major economies by inflation and unemployment expectations, South Africa is the third-most miserable economy in the world.
- Only Venezuela and Argentina fared worse.
- The US suffered the biggest decline in fortunes, weakening from 50th place to number 25.
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South Africa has just been ranked as the world's most miserable economy after Venezuela and Argentina.
Bloomberg's Misery Index, which ranks major economies by inflation and unemployment expectations, shows South Africa is at the third-worst position among major economies.
While the local inflation rate of around 2.2% is the lowest in 15 years, the official unemployment rate of 30% is the highest in a decade. Government estimates that between 3 and 7 million people could lose their jobs this year.
Thailand, Singapore, and Japan registered as the least miserable nations, with Switzerland in fourth place.
The US jumped up sharply in the misery index – from number 50 to 25.
Economists expect near-term inflation to slide below 1% in the US as a drop in consumer spending drives steady disinflation. The nation's unemployment rate spiked as high as 13.4% in the second quarter from a pre-pandemic reading of 3.5%, ranking among the worst labor market tumbles around the world.
Israel, Iceland, and Panama were the only countries to suffer a drop close to that seen in the US, according to Bloomberg. Of the world's largest economies, China and Japan declined the least, while the eurozone and the UK both experienced bigger jumps in joblessness and drops in inflation.
Luxembourg's economy improved the most between 2019 and 2020, by leaping to rank 30 from 47.
Not all index improvements equate to economic happiness, according to Bloomberg. Some higher rankings were fuelled by demand hits that pushed inflation expectations into negative territory. The top four least miserable economies of 2020 all expect deflation to hit in the near future. Such a trend would likely harm borrowers and worsen already steep recessions.
(Compiled by Business Insider SA, with reporting by Benjamin Winck.)
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