Cause For Concern? The Top 10 Risks To The Global Economy

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There has arguably never been a greater disconnect between the apparent strength of the global economy and the magnitude of geopolitical, financial and operational risks that organisations are facing.

The Economist Intelligence Unit expects momentum in the global economy to remain strong in 2018. The US economy will continue to motor along, the euro area will absorb more of the slack in its labour markets and Chinese consumption, investment and exports will all remain strong. Higher commodity prices will prove a fillip for emerging-market exporters, while a gradual tightening of monetary conditions will not take hold to the extent that it slows growth. Taken together, these factors mean that the global economy is forecast to expand by 3% in 2018, up from a mediocre annual average pace of 2.6% in 2015-16.

Despite the encouraging headline growth figures, the global economy is facing the highest level of risk in years. Indeed, this favourable economic picture appears to come from a completely different world to the one where headlines are dominated by protectionist rhetoric, major territorial disputes, terrorism, surging cyber-crime and even the threat of nuclear war. The global economy has seen periods of high risk before, with threats emanating from the regional and the national level, as well as from state and non-state actors. What is unique about this period of heightened risk, however, is that unlike other periods in recent decades, risks are also originating from the global level, as the US questions its role in the world and partially abdicates from its responsibilities. These moves have signalled the end of the US-led global order and the beginning of a new order. Although the new order will emerge over the next decade, there will be a period of uncertainty as multiple global and regional powers vie for power and influence. For organisations attempting to negotiate these concerns in order to take advantage of the numerous and growing economic opportunities, the stakes are obviously high.

In this report, we identify and assess the top ten risks to the global political and economic order. Each of the risks is not only outlined, but also rated in terms of its likelihood and its potential impact on the global economy. This is a small snapshot of our risk quantification capabilities. We also provide operational risk analysis on a country-by-country basis for 180 countries through our Risk Briefing. Meanwhile, we provide detailed credit risk assessments on 131 countries via our Country Risk Service.

Together, these products enable our clients to plot the main threats to their organisations, supply chains and sovereign creditors. We offer robust risk modelling, scenario analysis and daily events scanning for the threats and opportunities that abound in the global economy.

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