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Global recession ends, economists predict recovery in 2010

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Following the financial crisis that swept the world beginning in 2008, the broad consensus of economists and policymakers is that the global economy is again expanding.

China, for example, says its gross domestic product (GDP) jumped 10.7 percent in the last quarter of 2009, compared with the previous year. India's GDP hit 7.9 percent in the third quarter.

Europe and the US are recovering more slowly. The US economy grew 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, the second consecutive quarter of growth after a full year of decline, though its GDP still contracted 2.4 percent over 2009. Britain's economy, meanwhile, rose just 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009.

But that doesn't mean the global economy is completely out of the woods. "We are in the recovery phase," explains Simon Johnson, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, via e-mail. Countries are stabilizing at different speeds and the global economy is still fragile.

Which countries are recovering fastest?

The global recovery has been primarily driven by emerging markets, as "their financial systems were less damaged by the crisis and they were not overly indebted [prior to the crisis]," says Professor Johnson.

In fact, many emerging markets – China, India, Australia (which saw only one quarter of contraction) – did not actually enter a recession, though their economies did slow.

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