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The three worries of 2015

By ColinSpeakman ( Updated: 2015-01-20 17:40

We hope for a better 2015 and I am an optimist. However we have not started the new year well and there are three worries that will dog us as the year progresses.


We all tend to worry about our individual economic condition. For the world as a whole, the World Bank last week reduced its global economic growth forecast from 3.4% to 3%.  I am not surprised. The Euro-zone is struggling and actually facing the threat of deflation. Japan could be in a similar state. Russia's economy is expected to contract between 3 and 4 % - it depends on oil prices and whether sanctions are maintained. Brazil's good growth years seem to be behind them and little action there. Of course China's economic growth forecast of 7% is good in the context of other economies, but China will not able to contribute as much to global growth as it has in recent years. Its own growth could yet be impacted by the gloomy global picture - especially the impact on inward Foreign Direct Investment and Chinese exports. I think the lower oil prices and recent purchases of this black gold by China will underpin the forecasts in the end. The bright spots are the US and the UK, both expected to grow up to 3% this year.


We started the year with news that it was the hottest on record - global warming is real. We will end the year with a crucial UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and it needs to produce results. Groundwork was laid in Lima, Peru last December but a lot of fine tuning is needed. We face the threats of more earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, hurricanes and more species extinction - along with pollution, so we better get on with it!


We started the year with this and many nations are on high security alert. It seems inescapable that we will see a lot more terrorist attacks - they have become too commonplace in some African countries, in Iraq, Syria and other places. Al-Qaeda and ISIS seem war-minded and determined to avenge strikes against them by the West. There are connections with the economic situation. If terrorism strikes down a jumbo jet, many might reduce flying, become less confident about the future and depress economic activity. Of course physical assets destroyed by terrorist attacks reduce the stock of economic capital. 

For all of these reasons, I see 2015 as a fragile year and we need to take much care. We also need to be brave and retain optimism. 

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