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A quarterly publication setting out the Crédit Agricole scenario for the economy, interest rates and currencies in the main economic regions, ie, the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Clearly, the geopolitical, political and economic risks facing the world are many and multifarious. And it's no easy matter to isolate those that seem most apparent to us. In this respect, a sudden tightening of financial conditions does not yet seem an imminent danger. While 2017 is not looking as if it will be the year of living dangerously, 2018 could well be more fraught.
Has the "classic" recovery cycle, whereby growth picks up on the strength of a virtuous circle and investment acts as an accelerator, gone belly up? Despite reduced financial constraints, businesses are watching and waiting and are loath to invest. Global growth is feeling the pain, as is potential growth. Meanwhile, alone at the helm, central banks have fired off all their ammunition.
In the 23 June referendum, a majority of the UK electorate voted in favour of leaving the European Union. Close to 52% of voters opted for a Brexit in a very clear-cut result, especially as the participation rate was a high 72.2%. Apart from the UK, obviously, the economic damage to the rest of the world, at this stage, seems relatively absorbable. Persistent financial uncertainty and volatility are not, however, conducive to investment, which is a source of lasting growth. Conversely, the political fallout is enormous and multifarious. The vote shows us the sad spectacle of where political opportunism and recklessness can lead. It also teaches us that ‘it isn't conceivable because it would be catastrophic' is not a strong political argument.
In the industrialised world, inflation is struggling to pick up. Growth is holding its own but is not accelerating. Monetary policies designed to stimulate economies have reached some of their limitations. Risks are piling up – diffuse and varied. But we do not want our scenario to cause anxiety, even if predicting "the end of the world as we know it" would be the easy strategy.
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