Forecasts/ predictions for 2019

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IMF: World Economic Outlook Update, January 2019
The global growth forecast for 2019 and 2020 had already been revised downward in the last WEO, partly because of the negative effects of tariff increases enacted in the United States and China earlier that year. The further downward revision since October in part reflects carry over from softer momentum in the second half of 2018—including in Germany following the introduction of new automobile fuel emission standards and in Italy where concerns about sovereign and financial risks have weighed on domestic demand—but also weakening financial market sentiment as well as a contraction in Turkey now projected to be deeper than anticipated.
Risks to global growth tilt to the downside. An escalation of trade tensions beyond those already incorporated in the forecast remains a key source of risk to the outlook. Financial conditions have already tightened since the fall. A range of triggers beyond escalating trade tensions could spark a further deterioration in risk sentiment with adverse growth implications, especially given the high levels of public and private debt. These potential triggers include a “no-deal” withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and a greater-than-envisaged slowdown in China.
The main shared policy priority is for countries to resolve cooperatively and quickly their trade disagreements and the resulting policy uncertainty, rather than raising harmful barriers further and destabilizing an already slowing global economy. Across all economies, measures to boost potential output growth, enhance inclusiveness, and strengthen fiscal and financial buffers in an environment of high debt burdens and tighter financial conditions are imperatives.

Brookings: 2019 trends to watch
2018 was marked by dramatic gatherings of world leaders, a flurry of data breaches, momentous elections in America and abroad, upheavals in global trade, and much more. Already, 2019 is shaping up to be no less eventful.
Brookings experts are looking ahead to the issues they expect will shape the world this year and the solutions to address them. Explore what more than 40 of them have identified as the biggest policy issues in their field for 2019, the ideas or proposals they encourage policymakers to consider, and the overlooked stories that deserve greater attention.

PS Commentators’ Predictions for 2019
Against a backdrop of increasing market turmoil and geopolitical friction, Project Syndicate commentators anticipate the events and trends that will most likely dominate the coming year. If one thing is certain, it is that more uncertainty awaits.
…in an effort to make some sense of our profoundly uncertain times, Project Syndicate commentators have offered their predictions of what to expect in 2019. Many foresee a global economic slowdown – perhaps even a recession. And few harbor any illusions that the political and diplomatic spasms provoked by US President Donald Trump’s administration will soon disappear. Yet 2019 may not be all bad news. Some commentators foresee a rejuvenation of democracy and the fall of demagogues and dictators. And still others foresee what today look like true surprises. Whether the new year warrants optimism or despair is, of course, impossible to know until it is nearly over. To paraphrase Hegel, the owl of Minerva spreads its wings only in December.

10 world events to watch in 2019
From Brexit to the Afghan presidential elections, 2019 is expected to be a year of new beginnings.
(Open Canada) 1. February 16: Nigeria’s presidential elections
2. March 29: Brexit
3. March 31: Elections in Ukraine
4. April: Beijing hosts second Belt and Road forum
7. June 28-29: G20 leaders meet in Osaka, Japan
8: July 20: Afghan presidential elections
10. October 21: Canadian federal election

The biggest security threats in 2019
By Peter Apps, Reuters global affairs columnist, writing on international affairs, globalization, conflict and other issues. He is founder and executive director of the Project for Study of the 21st Century; PS21, a non-national, non-partisan, non-ideological think tank.
(Reuters) With an ongoing trade war between the United States and China, Russian military posturing in Eastern Europe at its greatest since the Cold War and the most unpredictable U.S. administration in living memory, 2019 may offer no shortage of strategic surprises [areas of concern include]:
A new “big three” meeting?; Europe – particularly Ukraine; South China Sea; Yemen and Syria; North Korea

1 January
Predictions: Trump goes, unexpected candidate emerges in 2019
By John LeBoutillier, opinion contributor
(The Hill) As a new chapter in American history unfolds with the start of another year, here are some predictions for the political scene in 2019:
Donald J. Trump’s presidency will not survive 2019;
The downward trajectory of every aspect of his tenure indicates we are headed for a spectacular political crash-and-burn — and fairly soon;
His increasingly erratic and angry behavior, his self-imposed isolation, his inability and refusal to listen to smart advisers that he hired, all are leading him to a precipice;
Meanwhile, the global and U.S. economies are softening in great part because of the unnecessary and ill-conceived trade war he launched against Canada and our European allies; if he wanted to conduct a legitimate trade war against China, wouldn’t it have made more sense to have trading allies such as Canada and Europe with us, instead of making them our adversaries?Consumer confidence is declining and the American economy will slow noticeably in 2019. A recession is right around the corner, heading into 2020; And there is more

31 December
US stocks post worst year in a decade as the S&P 500 falls more than 6% in 2018
Robert Reich comments: Hate to end the year with a downer (and I hope to post something more upbeat tomorrow), but US stocks have suffered their worst year in a decade as the S&P 500 fell more than 6 percent in 2018.
For the last two years, Trump has boasted he’s responsible for the stock market boom (which, not incidentally, began in 2009). Now he’s trying to blame the bust on Fed Chair Jerome Powell, China, and even Nancy Pelosi (who’s not even Speaker yet).
In reality, some “correction” (Wall Street euphemism for a bust) was expected. But Trump’s trade war with China, his huge tax cut for the wealthy and big corporations that added $1.9 trillion to the federal debt, his shutdown of the government, his gusher of lies and threats and pathological narcissism, have all undermined investor confidence.
The richest 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of the stock market, and the richest 10 percent own 80 percent. They can probably ride this out.
But a stock market bust can leach out into the real economy. Many middle-class and working-class Americans rely for their retirements on 401-k’s that are now worth substantially less. Pension funds could also be in trouble. Most peoples’ wages are still going nowhere, and in this environment companies are in no mood to boost them.

29 December
Challenges of technology, innovation and competition in the new year
(The Hill) The current advances in emerging technologies possess strategic significance in their own right, yet take on greater urgency because of this rivalry. Such new frontiers as biotechnology, artificial intelligence (AI), fifth-generation mobile communications (5G), and quantum computing are integral to economic competitiveness and are also the “very technologies that ensure we will be able to fight and win the wars of the future,” according to the U.S. National Defense Strategy. Today, traditional American leadership is contested, as China emerges as a powerhouse in science and technology, with aspirations to become a global leader in innovation.
The recent recognition of the challenges that China presents to American national security and interests has started to reorient U.S. policy in ways that Republicans and Democrats tend to agree upon. Evidently, technology is a core concern underlying frictions and flashpoints, from the threat of China’s cyber and non-traditional espionage to security concerns over the involvement of Chinese companies in 5G development. China’s ambitions and potential to lead in strategic technologies constitute a long-term challenge of great consequence.

28 December
10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019
As U.S. leadership fades, authoritarian leaders are competing to see how much they can get away with
(Foreign Policy) As the era of largely uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international order has been thrown into turmoil. More leaders are tempted more often to test limits, jostle for power, and seek to bolster their influence—or diminish that of their rivals—by meddling in foreign conflicts. Multilateralism and its constraints are under siege, challenged by more transactional, zero-sum politics. Instruments of collective action, such as the United Nations Security Council, are paralyzed; those of collective accountability, including the International Criminal Court, are ignored and disparaged.
The wind is in the sails of strongmen worldwide. They realize, at times perhaps to their surprise, that constraints are crumbling, and the behavior that results often fuels violence or crises.
Myanmar’s mass expulsion of 700,000 Rohingya, the Syrian regime’s brutal suppression of a popular uprising, the Cameroonian government’s apparent determination to crush an Anglophone insurgency rather than tackle the grievances fueling it, the Venezuelan government’s economic warfare against its own people, and the silencing of dissent in Turkey, Egypt, and elsewhere are but a few examples. All are motivated in part by what leaders perceive as a yellow light where they used to see solid red.
The international order as we know it is unraveling, with no clear sense of what will come in its wake. The danger may well lie less in the ultimate destination than in the process of getting there. As the following list of 10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019 amply illustrates, that road will be bumpy, and it will be perilous. The list: Yemen; Afghanistan; US-China; Saudi Arabia, the United States, Israel, and Iran; Syria; Nigeria; South Sudan; Cameroon, Ukraine, Venezuela.

(The Atlantic) The partial U.S.-government shutdown continues, while the House Democrats push forward with the establishment of a Climate Crisis Committee—to the disappointment of some activists on the party’s left, who’d hoped for a more ambitious mandate. Still at loose ends is the fallout over the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, the geopolitical impact—or lack thereof—of the withdrawal of troops from Syria, how the push for greater gun-control regulation, reignited in 2018 after another fatal year, will continue to unfold, and much more. And what will President Donald Trump confront in the new year, halfway through his first term?

27 December
Tech predictions for 2019: It gets worse before it gets better
Looking into a crystal ball at the year to come, we’ll say goodbye to Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and electric scooters — and hello to pricey foldable smartphones and 5G networks that most people can’t use.
(WaPost) New technologies like 5G networks, alternative transportation and artificial intelligence promise to change our lives. But even these carry lots of caveats in the near term.
When my Post colleagues and I looked into a crystal ball to make this list of nine intentionally provocative headlines we might see in 2019, it was hard to see past the problems we’re bringing with us into the new year.
Canadian economy was resilient in 2018, but troubling signs ahead
Low oil prices, jittery markets, trade uncertainty and higher rates weigh on the outlook for 2019
(CBC) Andy Blatchford, Canadian Press: In Canada, potential trouble spots include the combination of high household debt, rising interest rates and slowing wage growth that’s been “terrible” for about half a year following a good pickup early in 2018, said Matt Stewart, director of economics for the Conference Board of Canada.
Higher interest rates, Stewart added, have delivered a hit to household spending, which has been the primary driver of Canada’s good economic fortunes.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a recession,” Stewart said. “As of yet, I think most of the news is still positive, but there is a growing amount of risks.”

25 December
World Economy Is Set to Feel the Delayed Trade War Pain in 2019
While 2018 was the year trade wars broke out, 2019 will be the year the global economy feels the pain. Bloomberg’s Global Trade Tracker is softening amid a fading rush to front-load export orders ahead of threatened tariffs. And volumes are tipped to slow further even as the U.S. and China seek to resolve their trade spat, with companies warning of ongoing disruption.
Recent data underscore concerns that trade will be a drag on American growth next year. U.S. consumers are feeling the least optimistic about the future economy in a year, while small business optimism about economic improvement fell to a two-year low and companies expect smaller profit gains in 2019.

For the world economy, the threat of trade war has dissipated, not disappeared. Three risks stand out. First, 90 days of talks between China and the U.S. might end in failure, with higher tariffs following. Second, even without an increase in tariffs, front-loading of exports in 2018 will reduce shipments in 2019. Finally, looking beyond the trade war, early warning signs from PMI surveys to FedEx profit warnings flag a softening of demand.
–Tom Orlik, Bloomberg Economics

The International Monetary Fund forecasts trade volumes will slow to 4 percent in 2019 from 4.2 percent this year and 5.2 percent in 2017. They warn that trade barriers have become more pronounced.

22 December
Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman:
In less than two weeks, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California will take the speaker’s gavel held until now by Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, and subpoena-wielding House Democrats will be empowered to investigate Mr. Trump’s family, business, campaign and administration. At some point after that, he will face the results of whatever Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, finds about campaign ties to Russia and obstruction of justice. At some point after that, Ms. Pelosi may come under enormous pressure from her liberal base to open an impeachment inquiry, and many Republicans anticipate a battle over whether Mr. Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors even if they hold enough votes in the Senate to block removal. Amid all that is a rising budget deficit that will shrink Mr. Trump’s domestic options and signs of a possible economic downturn that would undercut his most potent bragging point. (NYT For Trump, ‘a War Every Day,’ Waged Increasingly Alone

(Bloomberg) Fasten your seatbelt: 2019 is promising to be another bewildering and chaotic year.
The last 12 months have helped cement a shift in the global order with the rise of China in the East and populists in the West.
As Marc Champion reports, by mid-2018, economies run by mainstream democratic parties accounted for just a third of the combined output of the Group of 20 nations, down from more than four fifths in 2007. And that was before the election of Presidents Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil.
Technological revolution, income inequality, and what looks like a real clash of civilizations have added fuel to potential flashpoints that weren’t such burning issues this time a year ago.
The most urgent risks now include a new nuclear arms race, trade wars, real wars, and the fragmentation of Europe. There’s also an unpredictable Russia and an even less predictable President Donald Trump.
Each of these have the possibility to ignite turmoil, especially in their “worst-case” scenarios. To help navigate them, we’ve compiled a calendar of some of the key moments to watch, organized by topic. Happy New Year.

The Political Insiders’ Guide to 2019
18 top analysts and strategists from both parties tell us what they’ll be watching for in the coming year.
(Politico Magazine) As we head into the second half of Donald Trump’s presidency and the beginnings of another presidential election season, Politico Magazine asked political analysts, strategists, writers and thinkers on both sides of the aisle to tell us, briefly, what’s the one political development they’re watching for in 2019—whether that be the most interesting, most off-the-rails or most consequential. For some, it could be a specific event. For others it could be something long in the works that they foresee coming to a head in the upcoming year.
For starters, this from Robert M. Shrum: The economy—and what it means for Trump.
… if the economy heads south next year, it would be stupid to think that a president already at odds with all but a hard base of 35 percent or so stands any realistic chance of finding himself anywhere in January 2021 but at the next inauguration watching his Democratic successor be sworn in and then fleeing back to Trump Tower to tweet his anger. Economics has crashed his enterprises before—from Trump casinos to Trump Airlines and on and on. So watch the national economy: In so many ways, Trump is in trouble anyway, but if the economy falters in 2019, he’s gone for sure in 2020.

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