Global uncertainty reached unprecedented levels at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak and remains elevated. The World Uncertainty Index—a quarterly measure of global economic and policy uncertainty covering 143 countries—shows that although uncertainty has come down by about 60 percent from the peak observed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, it remains about 50 percent above its historical average during the 1996–2010 period.
Starting with the United States, the chart below displays the global (excluding the United States) average of the ratio of uncertainty related to the United States to overall uncertainty. It shows that uncertainty related to the United States has been a key source of uncertainty around the world since the past few decades
For instance, during the 2001–2003 period, U.S.-related uncertainty contributed to about 8 percent of the uncertainty in other countries—about 23 percent of the increase in global uncertainty from the historical mean. n the last 4 years, U.S.-related uncertainty has contributed to about 13 percent of uncertainty in other countries—with peaks of about 30 percent—and approximately 20 percent of the increase in global uncertainty from historical mean.