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INDUSTRYINSIGHT


more news at www.heavyliftpfi.com


Navigating challenging times


As risks to the global market economy stack up, HLPFI highlights some of the major challenges facing forwarders and shipping lines operating in the project logistics sector.


A


report published by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has identified


a series of major potential risks to the global economy this year. Entitled‘Cause for concern?’


the report anticipates that global growth will slow from 2.9 percent in 2018 to 2.8 percent in 2019 – and further to 2.6 percent in 2020. Three main areas could drive


growth even lower than these estimates. Geopolitical uncertainty and


growing protectionism constitute the first source of risk that could affect trade, financial markets and the oil and gas sector. The second is vulnerability in


large economies such as China, the USA and Italy (all of which have substantial burdens of


www.heavyliftpfi.com


debt), as well as in emerging markets – some of which are “highly exposed to global trade and capital flows”. Third is the possibility of a


long-term shift in global power dynamics, with the added complication of a changing security landscape. The rise of China versus the USA is particularly significant in this regard, the EIU said.


Specifics The top concern, according to the EIU report, is the possibility that tensions between the USA and China escalate into a full- blown global trade war. The threat of additional


tariffs on imports of European- made cars into the USA, for instance, could result in a broader trade conflict as the EU


attempts to defend its economic interests. National security concerns


regarding Chinese network providers like Huawei are part of this too. “There is a risk that a number of additional countries could be dragged into a technology trade war, with international companies’ supply chains disrupted by split global network coverage. “As global growth slows, this


There is a risk that a number of additional countries could be dragged into a technology trade war... – Economist Intelligence Unit


scenario could also be triggered if a number of countries were to decide to impose broad-based import tariffs and subsidise local industries in order to combat international protectionism,” the EIU said. Second on the list is the


potential for the corporate debt burden in the USA to transform the country’s downturn into a recession. While EIU considers a damaging recession unlikely, given the “robust” state of the country’s economic fundamentals, it said that corporate debt has “surged” to just under 47 percent – and the quality of that debt has fallen. EIU notes that “a US recession


would greatly exacerbate a global slowdown, with countries affected by declining US demand for goods and weakening investment”. Despite last year’s pressure


on emerging markets resulting from a strong US dollar having eased, “market sentiment


May/June 2019 31


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