Global economy faces continued sluggish growth, according to Dun & Bradstreet

US commercial information provider Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB) said it has published a five-year forecast of the global economy predicting continued but sluggish growth against challenging headwinds, differing from region to region.

D&B said that its Global Economic Outlook to 2017, based on a study and analysis of its proprietary business data and external data sources, provides insights on several contributing factors to real GDP growth for more 132 countries, representing seven major geographic areas.

According to D&B concerns over a double-dip recession in the US are unfounded despite the fiscal policy challenges. The significant improvement in the health of the corporate sector in combination with moderate consumer spending growth are offsetting austerity that will be required at all levels of government.

Growth remains constrained but the recovery continues to gradually gain momentum.

The outlook for European economies remains troubling. The immediate crisis in the Eurozone has subsided, but the underlying challenges in the region remain substantial.

While attention remains focused on fiscal and monetary policy D&B remains concerned about the competitiveness of European economies and the ability of their business sector to offset fiscal restraint. The outlook for the region remains unsettled with substantial downside risk given policy uncertainty.

In 2012, three years into the recovery, D&B downgraded 32 countries in its country risk analysis–the third highest number of downgrades in one calendar year–while only upgrading seven.

Risk ratings for 56 of the 132 countries are worse than in October 2009 when the recovery started, while only 23 are better.