Economic Update - April 2024

Economic Update - April 2024

The global economic landscape is marked by significant shifts, including a robust rally in the U.S. dollar driven by divergent monetary policies, which poses challenges and opportunities for international trade and investment. In Latin America, persistent economic stagnation calls for increased market competitiveness, while Africa faces a critical food security crisis due to economic and conflict pressures, underscoring the need for urgent international cooperation. Meanwhile, China shows mixed economic signals with a surprising growth spurt, despite challenges in key sectors like retail and industrial production.

In India, upcoming elections are heightened by ethnic and sectarian tensions fueled by economic instability, necessitating inclusive economic policies. The easing of inflation in key European economies like Germany and France offers a glimmer of hope for economic stabilization. Globally, household incomes show a slight decline despite GDP growth, highlighting the impact of fiscal policies on personal economics. Additionally, significant tax amendments across various regions and the diverse challenges in wealth management underscore the importance of staying informed and adaptable in an increasingly complex global environment.

World Geopolitics

The Dynamics of the U.S. Dollar in a Diverging Global Rate Environment

In the first quarter of 2024, the U.S. dollar experienced a significant rally, marked by a 4.6% surge in the dollar index. This increase reflects a stark divergence in monetary policies among major global economies, with the Federal Reserve maintaining a relatively hawkish stance compared to its counterparts like the ECB and the Bank of Canada. This policy divergence has led to widened yield differentials, particularly noticeable in the U.S.-German bond spread, which is at its widest since 2022. While a strong dollar benefits from geopolitical uncertainties, such as those in the Middle East, it poses challenges both domestically and internationally by affecting U.S. multinationals and complicating inflation management in other economies.

Revitalizing Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Urgent Economic Mission

Latin America and the Caribbean are grappling with significant economic challenges as they emerge from the pandemic. The region's GDP growth is expected to be the slowest globally, projected at just 1.6% in 2024 with slight improvements in subsequent years. Structural inefficiencies, such as low capital accumulation and sluggish productivity, coupled with a lack of market competition, are major hurdles. These factors lead to higher consumer prices and increased inequality, stifling innovation and economic performance. To foster sustainable growth, the region needs to enhance market competition, liberalize economies, and invest in human and technological resources.

Escalating Hunger Crisis in West and Central Africa Amid Economic and Conflict Pressures

West and Central Africa face a severe food security crisis, with nearly 55 million people expected to struggle with food insecurity during the mid-2024 lean season. Factors driving this crisis include economic downturns, inflation, restrictive trade measures, and ongoing conflicts, as seen in northern Mali. The region's dependence on imports exacerbates these challenges, with currency devaluation and high inflation driving up costs. Addressing this crisis requires comprehensive international cooperation and policy support to ensure food security and sustainable agricultural practices.

China's Economy Grows 5.3% in First Quarter Amid Mixed Economic Signals

China's economy grew by 5.3% in the first quarter of 2024, exceeding expectations. However, this growth is overshadowed by underperforming sectors such as retail sales and industrial production. The real estate sector continues to decline, impacting related industries like construction. Despite these challenges, wage increases suggest some resilience in the labor market. The economic outlook remains cautious, with potential policy adjustments needed to sustain growth amid domestic challenges and international trade tensions.

Rising Economic Challenges Aggravate Sectarian Strife Ahead of 2024 Elections in India

India faces heightened ethnic and sectarian tensions as it approaches the 2024 parliamentary elections, exacerbated by economic discontent. Affirmative action policies, such as quotas for Scheduled Castes and Tribes, are under pressure amid rising unemployment and economic instability. These pressures are intensifying societal divisions and could influence voter behavior and political strategies, emphasizing the need for inclusive economic policies to mitigate conflicts and promote stability.

Easing Inflation Brings Relief to Germany and France Amid Economic Hopes

Recent data from Germany and France show a welcome decrease in inflation rates, driven by falling food and energy prices. This trend brings hope that inflation will align with the European Central Bank's target of 2%, potentially easing living costs and supporting economic recovery. The decrease in inflation may provide the ECB with more flexibility in monetary policy, fostering conditions for sustainable growth across Europe.


Each of these updates highlights the interconnectedness of global economies and the complex challenges they face. From currency dynamics and growth initiatives to food security and inflation management, these issues require vigilant monitoring and proactive policy interventions to ensure stability and prosperity in an increasingly interconnected world.


Economics - Macro, Micro, Socio, Behavioural

Real Household Income Falls Slightly After Four Quarters of Growth

In an unexpected shift, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported a slight decrease in real household income per capita by 0.2% in the third quarter of 2023, marking an end to four consecutive quarters of growth since Q3 2022. This downturn contrasts with the continued growth in real GDP per capita, which saw a modest increase of 0.3% during the same period. The divergence between household income and GDP growth underscores the complex economic dynamics affecting OECD countries, highlighting variations in income, taxation, and government benefits across different nations.

A Mixed Picture Across OECD Countries

The third quarter of 2023 presented a mixed economic landscape among OECD nations. Notably, 11 countries bucked the overall trend, registering an increase in real household income per capita. Hungary led this group with a significant 5.5% rise, attributed to robust growth in employee remuneration, self-employment income, and property income. This positive development suggests that certain economies were able to leverage strong labor markets and investment income to boost household earnings.

Conversely, the remaining 10 of the 21 OECD countries for which data was available experienced declines in real household income per capita. Spain faced the steepest drop at -2.1%, primarily due to an uptick in taxes on income and wealth. This decline points to the impact of fiscal policies on household incomes, where increased taxation can significantly erode earnings.

G7 Economies: Varied Performances

Among the G7 economies, the picture was varied. Italy saw a noteworthy 1.4% increase in real household income per capita, driven by gains in employee remuneration and self-employment income, showcasing the country's resilient labor market and entrepreneurial sector. The United Kingdom experienced a modest growth of 0.2% in real household income per capita, a deceleration from 2.1% in the preceding quarter, amid a contraction in real GDP per capita for the second consecutive quarter.

Germany and Canada both reported decreases in real household income per capita, by 0.6% and 0.5% respectively, amidst ongoing declines in real GDP per capita. This trend highlights the challenges faced by these economies in sustaining household income growth in the face of economic contraction.

In the United States, despite a 1% increase in real GDP per capita and higher earnings from employment and self-employment, real household income per capita dipped slightly by 0.3%. This was largely due to a reduction in government social benefit payments, including Medicaid, and increased tax and social insurance contributions, illustrating the significant role of government policy in shaping household income dynamics.

France saw a marginal contraction of -0.1% in both real household income per capita and real GDP per capita, indicating a period of economic stagnation that has mildly affected household incomes.


The recent data from the OECD highlights the nuanced relationship between GDP growth and household income, showing that broader economic expansion does not always translate into increased earnings for households. The variations across OECD countries reflect diverse economic policies, labor market conditions, and social welfare systems, all of which play a crucial role in determining the financial well-being of households.


As policymakers navigate these challenging economic waters, the balance between stimulating economic growth, managing taxation, and providing social benefits will be critical in ensuring that the benefits of economic activity are equitably distributed among households. The slight fall in real household income after a period of growth serves as a reminder of the ongoing economic uncertainties facing the world, necessitating vigilant economic management and policy interventions to support sustained household income growth in the future.

Global Taxation Overview

Navigating New Tax Amendments: A 2024 Global Overview

As countries adapt their tax policies to meet evolving economic needs and challenges, individuals and businesses must stay informed about the latest tax amendments. From the USA to India, governments have introduced changes that could have significant financial implications for taxpayers. Here’s an overview of the most recent tax amendments across various regions, effective as of April 16, 2024:

North America

United States: The IRS has adjusted the standard deduction for the 2024 tax year to account for inflation. This change, effective from January 1, 2024, allows taxpayers to deduct a larger portion of their income before calculating owed taxes, potentially lowering overall tax liability.

Canada: The Canadian government has extended the Home Office Tax Credit as part of its 2023 budget. While implementation details are still being finalized, this extension will allow eligible Canadians who work from home to claim certain expenses, such as a portion of their utilities and internet costs, on their tax returns.

South America

Brazil: In response to rising inflation, Brazil has temporarily reduced import tariffs on essential goods starting March 1, 2024. This measure aims to decrease the cost of critical items like food and medicine for Brazilian consumers.

Argentina: Effective January 1, 2024, Argentina has increased taxes on luxury goods. This hike targets high-end items to generate additional revenue for government initiatives.


Kenya: Kenya introduced a Digital Service Tax (DST) on January 1, 2024. This new tax applies to the revenue generated from digital services such as online advertising and streaming, affecting many digital businesses operating within the country.

South Africa: South Africa has lowered the Corporate Income Tax Rate for small businesses from April 1, 2024. This reduction is intended to stimulate economic activity and job creation by reducing operational costs for small enterprises.


France: As of April 1, 2024, France has introduced increased Green Tax Incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles. These incentives, which come in the form of a larger tax credit, are designed to promote the adoption of environmentally friendly transportation options.

Germany: Germany plans to increase taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel starting July 1, 2024. The aim is to raise funds for climate protection initiatives and to encourage the shift towards alternative and greener fuels.


China: China has implemented Corporate Income Tax cuts for small businesses, effective for the 2023 tax year (to be filed in 2024). This measure reduces the tax burden on small enterprises to foster their growth and sustainability.

India: Beginning April 1, 2024, India has increased tax deductions for investments in affordable housing. This policy provides tax benefits for individuals investing in housing that meets certain affordability criteria, encouraging the development of more economical housing options.


These tax amendments reflect a blend of economic strategies aimed at stimulating growth, addressing inflation, encouraging sustainable practices, and supporting specific sectors or demographics. Taxpayers and businesses are advised to consult these changes closely to understand their potential impacts and prepare accordingly for their next tax filings.

Business Partnering, and Regions of Interest

As global wealth continues to grow and diversify, regional disparities and specific challenges have come to the forefront of financial planning and wealth management. Across the world, from the bustling markets of Asia to the mature economies of Europe, different regions face unique challenges related to wealth accumulation, preservation, and transfer. Here’s a detailed look at the key wealth and legacy concerns by region:

USA & North America

In North America, rising income inequality and the concentration of wealth are major concerns. Wealthy families face complex estate taxes and require sophisticated tax planning strategies for inheritance. Healthcare costs significantly impact wealth transfer, with long-term care needs requiring robust financial planning. There's also a noticeable shift towards socially responsible investing (SRI), reflecting a growing desire to impact society positively. Additionally, the burden of student loan debt and the rising cost of education are increasingly seen as barriers to wealth building for younger generations.

South America

South America grapples with political and economic instability that often hinders wealth creation. Inflation continues to erode asset values, while access to financial planning and wealth management services remains limited. However, as the middle class grows, so does the demand for wealth management solutions. Family businesses frequently face intergenerational conflicts over inheritance and succession planning. Other notable challenges include currency fluctuations and political corruption, which complicate the financial landscape further.


Africa's landscape is marked by rapid economic growth that, while creating new wealth, also highlights stark inequalities. The region suffers from a lack of financial literacy and the necessary infrastructure to manage wealth effectively. Land ownership and business development are crucial for legacy building in many African cultures. Urbanization and changing family structures also pose challenges to traditional inheritance practices. Additionally, there's a rising interest in impact investing and philanthropy, though financial inclusion remains a significant hurdle.


Asia faces the dual challenge of an aging population and rising healthcare costs, which heavily impact wealth transfer strategies. The region's rapid economic development brings opportunities but also financial instability. Cultural values heavily influence inheritance decisions, emphasizing family and filial piety. Real estate and alternative investments are increasingly popular, though burgeoning government regulations on wealth management need careful navigation. The rise of technology giants and the wealth generated in the tech sector are transforming the traditional financial landscape.


Europe contends with high estate taxes and complex inheritance laws that complicate wealth transfer. The ageing population and declining birth rates pose additional challenges to maintaining generational wealth. There is an increasing focus on sustainable and impact investing across the continent. While Western Europe deals with political and economic uncertainties, especially concerning the future of the European Union, emerging economies like Poland and the Czech Republic see growing wealth and emerging opportunities in wealth management.


These regional snapshots underscore the diverse challenges and opportunities in wealth management and legacy planning globally. As economic landscapes evolve and new wealth is created, the need for tailored financial planning that addresses both regional and global concerns becomes ever more critical. Whether it’s navigating complex tax landscapes in North America, dealing with economic instability in South America, or managing rapid wealth creation in Asia, understanding these regional nuances is key to effective wealth and legacy management.

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