The fast-growing BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China), which made up just 17% of global gross domestic product in 2010, are expected to account for 40% of world GDP growth over 2011 and 2012.

This compares with the developed economies of the G-7, where a sluggish recovery means they are likely to account for just 34% of global growth over 2011 and 2012, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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Confidence in the eurozone economic recovery continues to wane as the Greek debt crisis has deepened and threatens to spread to Spain and Italy, according to a second PwC report.

PwC reported that several opportunities could contribute to the recovery of the global economy, including the reconstruction phase in Japan, the expected expansion of global trade, high end manufacturing in developed markets and increased spending by consumers in emerging markets.

But other issues threaten to dampen global economic recovery further, including fiscal consolidation in the developed world, monetary tightening in emerging markets and the uncertainty caused by Europe's sovereign debt crisis.

Richard Snook, a consultant in PwC’s macroeconomics team, said: “The world economy is set to slow in 2011. We expect growth to ease to 3.2%, following on from 4% in 2010. The key headwinds to growth will be fiscal consolidation and private sector deleveraging in the developed world, while emerging markets are tightening monetary policy to rein in inflation.

“The slowdown in some key developed markets and the tightening of monetary policy in emerging markets has impacted negatively on global trade and industrial production volumes. We expect 2012 will see global growth bounce back to 3.6%, as trade rebounds, consumer spending picks up and the economic uncertainty surrounding events such as the sovereign debt crisis eases.”