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There is a distinct lack of good news at the moment, and certainty is in short supply. The coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Europe, the Middle East and North America, and we have to assume it will continue spreading at a rapid rate.
Fears around the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has spilled into financial markets. The coronavirus outbreak has rapidly approached global pandemic levels, and given the knock-on effects of the virus on economic growth, the fireworks in markets were inevitable.
As we enter a new decade, CEOs are showing record levels of pessimism in the global economy, with 53% predicting a decline in the rate of economic growth in 2020. This is up from 29% in 2019 and just 5% in 2018 – the highest level of pessimism since we started asking this question in 2012.
Despite various geopolitical and economic challenges at the beginning of 2019, markets managed to deliver very strong returns for the year. And investors will be relieved to see that equity markets look set to start 2020 on a slightly better footing, as many of these uncertainties have been addressed to some extent over 2019.
It’s that time of year again where more than 3,000 of the world’s top leaders including heads of state, central bankers and representatives from many of the world’s top companies converge on the little town of Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF).