HOUSTON-From 1995-1998, the economy throughout the world is expected to grow 4.2 percent per year, and even developing countries in Africa, the Middle East and the Commonwealth of Independent States are expected to benefit - albeit marginally. Arved Teleki, president of Hydrocarbon Consultants Inc., an economic and management consulting firm in Houston, presented a rosy economic picture for this and the next three years, saying he expects this period to have the highest sustained economic growth in a generation.
Teleki spoke March 22 at CMAI's 1995 World Petrochemical Conference in Houston.
``A relatively good [economic] rebound in 1992 was followed by a relapse in 1993,'' Teleki said.
``Since 1990, at least one and, often, two important regions [of the world] were in recession. The effect was accentuated by the continuing collapse in the former Soviet Union,'' he said.
``The four years, 1990-1993 inclusive, can be characterized as very disappointing, near stagnation in the world economy. Growth averaged only 1.3 percent per year.''
However, several important factors in the world's economy have shifted in the past two years that enhanced growth, Teleki said.
He pointed out that the U.S. economy is expanding nicely because of strong sales of auto-mobiles and trucks, and because general industrial production is expected to remain strong.
The North American Free Trade Agreement, combined with the U.S. and Canadian economies and the Mexican economy - despite its recent, severe crisis - are providing a huge contribution to economic growth worldwide, especially in South America, Teleki said. The North American economy accounts for more than 27 percent of the total world gross domestic product, he noted.
Europe emerged in 1994 from its most severe and prolonged recession since World War II, and the uneven growth triggered by the emerging market economies of the former communist countries has leveled out, making growth prospects for those and the general European economies favorable.
Teleki said 1994 also marked the end of a prolonged recession in Japan, and he noted that growth in Japan usually heralds improved economies throughout the Far East.
Also, economic growth in China - which has the third-largest economy behind the United States and Japan - is expected to remain very high: 10 percent in 1995, then 6-7 percent in 1996, 1997 and 1998, he said.
Countries in the Middle East and Africa continue to have economic problems based primarily on unstable political systems. The best that can be said about the countries comprised by the former Soviet Union, Teleki said, is that their economic decline has slowed, and further declines are not expected this year, for the first time since 1988.
``1995 will be the first year in five years in which all important economic regions of the world will be expanding together,'' he said.