Sibos Preview Blog: Swift Index predicting on-going slow OECD growth for gathering economists to ponder

By Neil Ainger | 24 October 2012

The Sibos trade show, organised by Swift, traditionally attracts some representatives from the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with adjoining meetings sometimes being convened if some of the world’s leading bankers and economists happen to be in the same place, at the same time. There will be some new short-term figures for them to ponder next week in Osaka, Japan, when Sibos 2012 gets underway after Swift’s Index team released its latest predictions for growth in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, which collectively represent the globe’s major economies.

According to the Swift Index OECD countries will only have achieved 1.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Q3 2012, in comparison to last year, and these recently released figures include many of the faster developing Asian economies as well, of course, which makes them especially disappointing. The prediction for Q4 2012 is no better with only 1.1% of GDP growth being predicted. Both sets of figures are unchanged from the August Swift Index update, further illustrating the stagnancy of the world economy at the moment.

The Swift Index relies on the global messaging and banking co-operative’s message traffic data for the figures, which attempt to provide a short-term quarterly or monthly overview of GDP growth. While it is by no means the most comprehensive or exacting of financial monitors, Swift is the financial messaging platform for more than 10,000 financial institutions and corporations around the world, across 212 countries, so its index does at least provide a good indicative and illustrative overview of the state of the world’s payments, trade flows and economy, if nothing else.

The latest Index figures just released ahead of the Sibos 2012 trade show next week are from September and, as always, are based upon the customer payments messaging data flowing across the collective’s platform.

There is not much there to shock the world’s bankers and economists as they gather in Osaka, Japan, from 29 October – 1 November at Sibos 2012, but the general worries about an Asian economic slowdown will do doubt be one of the hot topics at this year’s show, alongside the rise of China’s renminbi (RMB) currency and the withdrawal of the Chinese banks from the event, after unrelated political rows between Japan and China over the sovereignty of the potentially resource-rich Senkaku / Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea.

Separate Swift Index figures are available for the UK, US, Germany and the Eurozone, although these are not yet as up-to-date as the latest OECD figures. It would, however, be interesting to see the eurozone predictions as the travails of the single currency will no doubt also be a key talking point at Sibos 2012.

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