HONG KONG – Economists like me are asked a set of recurring questions that might inform the choices of firms, individuals and institutions in areas like investment, education and jobs, as well as their policy expectations. In most cases, there is no definitive answer. But, with sufficient information, one can discern trends, in terms of economies, markets and technology, and make reasonable guesses.
In the developed world, 2017 will likely be recalled as a period of stark contrast, with many economies experiencing growth acceleration, alongside political fragmentation, polarization and tension, both domestically and internationally. In the long run, it is unlikely that economic performance will be immune to centrifugal political and social forces. Yet, so far, markets and economies have shrugged off political disorder and the risk of a substantial short-term setback seems relatively small.