At recent events, I’ve watched a new trend not seen since 2007. That is where the organisers subtly suggest I not send the audience into a state of anxiety or depression.
The change of mood reflects the intense uncertainty and fear that many people are feeling about the future. The Ukraine war is rumbling on; the global economic outlook is riskier than we have seen for some time; interest rates are rising; the global technology sector is in a period of significant readjustment; and household real disposable incomes are under extreme pressure from escalating food and energy costs.
Generally, there is a significant deterioration in the cost of living.
I did learn some lessons back in the dark days of 2007 and 2008. The word therapist does not appear on my CV and there is nothing to be gained from sugar-coating the message, while recognising the fallibility of all economic forecasters.
It painted a sobering picture, highlighting the mounting challenges, which include the clouds facing business and consumer confidence; the effect of the Ukraine war on energy and food prices; the tightening of interest rates around the world; and the particular pressures on emerging market economies.
It is projecting the global economy will grow by just 2.2% in 2023, down from 3.1% this year.
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