Two-thirds of analysts concerned about prolonged recession, WEF says

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, New York, USA, on 04 March 2020 (reissued 24 March 2020). The New York Stock Exchange bounced back from some of its previous losses 24 March 2020 caused by fears of a global recession, amid hopes the US Senate may soon pass a stimulus bill valued at some two trillion USD. [EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE]

Some 66,3% of senior risk professionals pointed to a “prolonged global recession” as one of the most worrisome risks for their company, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), published on Tuesday (19 May).

According to the WEF’s COVID-19 preliminary risk mapping report, the economic fallout from the pandemic dominates companies’ risk perceptions.

Most respondents reckon that economic risks stemming from the health crisis are the most likely and concerning over the next 18 months.

Two-thirds of respondents identified a prolonged global recession as a top concern for business, while some 52.7% identified bankruptcies and industry consolidation, the failure of industries to recover and a disruption of supply chains as crucial worries.

During the pandemic, technology has played a key role in the lives of people and businesses, with many having to adapt and take new measures to protect their industries. According to 50% of respondents, the third most worrisome fallout for companies is an increase in cyberattacks and data fraud.

The report also showed that companies are concerned with geopolitical disruptions to business, with more than 40% of respondents rating tighter restrictions on the movement of people and goods among the most worrisome effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

Better economies

The virus has triggered an economic crisis, but there are also those who look at this moment as an opportunity to change the world economy.

The report calls for a green recovery, sustainability-focused stimulus packages, and potential changes in production models and consumer behaviours in order to accelerate the transition to a green economy.

Commenting on the findings of the report, the WEF’s Managing Director, Saadia Zahidid, stressed the importance of handling the immediate impact of the coronavirus. Global leaders must cooperate in order to tackle emerging known risks and build resilience against the unknown, she argued.

“We now have a unique opportunity to use this crisis to do things differently and build back better economies that are more sustainable, resilient and inclusive,” Zahidid said.

(Edited by Frédéric Simon)

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