The global credit outlook for 2017 is decidedly uncertain due to a host of risks and uncertainties, ranging from geopolitics to trade and interest rates, according to a new report from Moody’s Investors Service Inc.
Global credit conditions will “remain uneven” in the year ahead, the Moody’s report forecasts, citing a climate of firmer growth and low interest rates, but weak trade, political risks and concerns about the impact of monetary policy.
The New York-based credit-rating agency’s report forecasts that global economic growth will rise slightly to about 3% in 2017, up from 2.6% in 2016, “as advanced economies achieve steady growth and some emerging markets recover from recent slumps.” Commodity prices are also likely to be higher next year, it says.
Yet, at the same time, prolonged low interest rates are leading to a buildup in debt and deterioration in credit quality. Furthermore, global demand likely won’t be strong enough to reignite trade growth in 2017, the report suggests. Moreover, rising protectionist sentiment will act as an additional drag on trade in the years ahead.
Political uncertainty will remain high next year as well, the Moody’s report says, with the change in the U.S. government, the start of the U.K.’s planned withdrawal from the European Union and “a busy election schedule” in Europe.
A couple of other macroeconomic factors will likely also contribute to uncertainty, the Moody’s report states. For example, “fundamental changes from technological innovation and disruption will begin to manifest in 2017 and 2018.” This may alter the competitive landscape in certain industries, and disrupt supply chains.
On the issue of climate change, the Moody’s report notes that there is now a “significant degree of uncertainty in respect to the incoming U.S. administration’s policy toward the Paris Agreement and in ways other countries might react if the U.S. were to seek to withdraw from the agreement.”
Moody’s says that the risks to its outlook are skewed to the downside “with potential surprises from the growing risk of a re-pricing of assets, or a loss of confidence in the ability of China to manage its deleveraging and rebalancing process.”
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