Forget war with Russia, China, or nuclear threats from North Korea; ignore Middle East chaos; and don’t worry about global cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure. The Economist Intelligence Unit ‘scores’ the greatest global risk right now is a “prolonged fall in major stock markets.”
EIU begins by pointing out that, 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.
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 EIU identifies the top ten risks to the global political and economic order…
The Economist Intelligence Unit sees a number of risks, with their roots in the US, China and the EU. However, these risks are not limited to those geographies alone, and they could morph into threats that destabilise large parts of the world. In addition, there are risks that either come from smaller regional hotspots, or are global in nature.
This table highlights The Economist Intelligence Unit’s top 10 global risks, ranked in order of intensity. Risk intensity here is measured on a 25-point scale, and is a product of the probability of that risk taking place and the potential impact it would have on the global economy.
Ironic that a US-led global trade war is ranked #1 along with a sustained stock market slump as the greatest risks facing the world right now.
The global economy is moving into a new phase, where more and more central banks will begin to wind down or reverse their loose monetary policy positions in response to vigorous growth rates, giving rise to significant uncertainty.
Any ramp-up in protectionism would certainly have repercussions beyond North America and China. Prices and availability for US and Chinese products in the supply chains of companies from other nations would be badly affected. Consequently, global growth would be notably curtailed as investment and consumer spending fall back.