The best is already over for a global economic recovery that started off at a sprint and is turning into a slog.

That’s the warning from Wall Street economists heading into the final months of a traumatic year. Some US$20 trillion ($27.2 trillion) of stimulus from governments and central banks has pulled the world’s economies most of the way back to pre-pandemic levels. But for multiple reasons, the last stretch is set to be the hardest.

Policy makers could dial back the fiscal support that has been key to recovery — as they have already done in the US. Temporary job cuts may harden into permanent ones, a worry compounded this week when corporate giants Walt Disney and Royal Dutch Shell fired tens of thousands of workers. And the virus itself is spreading faster, and forcing governments to reimpose lockdowns, as cold weather arrives.

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