2004 will go down in history as a period of rapid expansion, even though the global economic growth rate slowed markedly during the course of the year. However, it did not come to a complete standstill despite the renewed increase in the price of oil and other energy commodities. Is there a threat of stronger price rises that would “force” the central banks to renounce their expansive course of monetary policy? Will the slowdown in the rate of global output expansion continue? If so, will this be only temporary, or can perhaps a return to a markedly faster rate of expansion be expected?
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