A Look at the World of Business in 2019 — the Good, Bad, and Ugly


Geopolitics will remain a key risk to the global business environment in 2019, led by the intensification of the US-China trade war and the strengthening of Sino-Russian relations to counter US influence. So finds the A.T. Kearney Global Business Policy Council’s Year-Ahead Predictions 2019 report.

The authors predict volatility in emerging markets in 2019. According to the founder and chairman of the Global Business Policy Council Chairman Paul Laudicina, “An emerging markets credit crisis will be spurred by high levels of foreign-denominated debt, currency depreciations, and the continued rise of US interest rates. On a more positive note, the emerging markets of Africa will greatly enhance their interconnectivity in 2019, which could begin to put the region on a more sustainable growth path.”

Several global resource challenges will come to the fore in 2019, according to the report. A sand shortage will become a bigger issue for some construction projects, particularly in Asia and Africa. And the trash crisis that began in 2018 will continue next year.

Co-author and managing director of the Global Business Policy Council Erik Peterson notes that technological innovations will help to solve some of these resource challenges. “The global trash crisis will spur long-awaited innovations in waste management around the world.” He also highlighted other technologies on the horizon. “Another exciting innovation to watch is exoskeletons. In 2019, these devices will shed their sci-fi image, helping to treat ailing muscles and joints and improving worker safety at manufacturing facilities.”

In the midst of these dramatic changes around the world, the authors expect the global anxiety epidemic to continue, spurring a variety of new consumer products. “There has been a proliferation of products intended to ease people’s anxiety in recent years, from weighted blankets to fidget spinners. We expect this market to expand even further in 2019, particularly with the rise of cannabis-derived products in key markets,” according to Courtney Rickert McCaffrey, manager of thought leadership for the Global Business Policy Council and co-author of the study.

The full list of predictions included in Year-Ahead Predictions 2019 is:

  1. The US-China trade war will intensify.
  2. Bitcoin will lead the consolidation and maturation of the cryptocurrency market.
  3. The global trash crisis will spur innovations in waste management.
  4. The global shipping industry will crash into new sulfur regulations.
  5. The Xi-Putin relationship will be the world’s most consequential bromance.
  6. The global anxiety epidemic will lead to a proliferation of new products.
  7. A sand shortage will grind the gears of the global construction industry.
  8. The looming emerging markets credit crisis will grow in both scale and scope.
  9. Africa will be more connected than ever.
  10. Real life “Iron Man” will materialize in the form of exoskeletons.

To read the full report, visit Year-Ahead Predictions 2019

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