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Economic conditions outlook, March 2022

McKinsey & Company

Worries about geopolitical conflicts, among other risks to growth, now exceed executives’ concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall economic optimism continues to decline.

Geopolitical instability is now cited as the top risk to both global and domestic economies in our latest McKinsey Global Survey on economic conditions.1 That’s the consensus among executives worldwide, who have cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a leading risk to growth for the past two years.

Our quarterly survey was launched four days after the invasion of Ukraine, and executives express uncertainty and concern about its impact on the economy. About three-quarters of respondents cite geopolitical conflicts as a top risk to global growth in the near term, up from one-third who said so in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the share of respondents citing the pandemic as a top risk fell from 57 to 12 percent, as much larger percentages now identify energy prices and inflation as threats to the global economy.

At the same time, overall sentiment about the economy remains largely positive, but it continues to trend downward. For the third quarter in a row, respondents are less likely than in the previous one to report that economic conditions in their respective countries and across the globe are improving. They are also less likely to believe that either global or domestic conditions will improve in the months ahead. The near-term economic outlook is especially gloomy among respondents in developed economies, whose views are increasingly downbeat compared with their emerging-economy peers.

Geopolitical conflict overshadows all other risks to growth

According to the survey results, executives expect that the economic effects of the invasion of Ukraine will be strongly felt. Seventy-six percent of all respondents cite geopolitical instability and/or conflicts as a risk to global economic growth over the next 12 months, and 57 percent cite it as a threat to growth in their home economies (Exhibit 1).

Executives see geopolitical instability as the top risk to both global and domestic growth in every geography except Greater China,2 where respondents most often cite the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-nine percent of respondents there say the pandemic is a threat to domestic growth, compared with 5 percent of all other respondents.

Nearly two years after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic,3this is the first time our respondents have not cited the pandemic as the top risk to growth in the global economy (Exhibit 2).

Overall sentiment continues to wane

While respondents tend to report improving—rather than worsening—conditions in the global economy and in their home countries, the percentages of executives saying so continue to decrease over time (Exhibit 3).

Their outlook for the next six months is even more downbeat, especially for the global economy (Exhibit 4). Forty-three percent of respondents believe the global economy will improve over the next six months, a share that’s nearly equal to the 40 percent who think conditions will worsen. This month’s result also marks the first time since July 2020 that less than a majority of respondents feel optimistic about the global economy’s prospects.

And while executives overwhelmingly cite geopolitical conflicts as a risk to economic growth, rising interest rates are a growing concern as well. Interest rates are among the top five risks to near-term growth in the global economy (for the second survey in a row) and in respondents’ home countries—and the share of respondents expecting a significant increase in near-term interest rates has more than doubled since the previous quarter. Across regions, executives in North America and in Europe are the most likely to expect interest rates to rise rather than hold steady or decrease.

The divide between developed and emerging economies grows

For the third quarter in a row, the survey results suggest a widening gap in optimism between developed-economy and emerging-economy respondents. In developed economies—where respondents cite geopolitical conflicts as a risk to growth more often than their peers do—sentiment is declining at a faster rate than in emerging economies. Only 52 percent of developed-economy respondents, versus 73 percent of their emerging-economy peers, say economic conditions at home have improved in recent months. In our two previous surveys, the gap was much smaller (Exhibit 5).

This trend is also evident in respondents’ views on the global economy. This month, just 39 percent of developed-economy respondents say global economic conditions have improved in recent months, compared with 68 percent in emerging economies. Respondents in developed economies also report a more downbeat outlook for the coming months: only 36 percent believe conditions in the global economy will improve in the near term, versus 55 percent of their emerging-economy peers.

About Jason Dooris

I have created and designed marketing and growth strategies for some of the world’s recognisable brands including Amazon, Deloitte, Saatchi and Saatchi, Optus, Virgin Mobile, Big W, Woolworths Supermarkets, Dan Murphys, Nespresso and Landlease. I have also worked with many Government departments on culture change and identity branding.

I am passionate about people leadership and development - empowering and engaging large marketing and brand teams through coaching, training, and mentorship for performance excellence. I currently lead a global/remote team across multiple locations including Australia, Argentina, Hong Kong and China.

I have a proven history of achievement in delivering corporate growth plans, and successful marketing initiatives to stimulate revenue growth and outperform sales objectives and have strong digital technology capabilities in advertising, communications, social media, marketing, and creative agency management.

My career experience has enabled me to present and speak across numerous platforms and industries as a subject matter expert, namely: ABC News, Sunrise, for the Australian Government, IBM Annual Global Conference, Emirates Annual Conference, AMP Board, New York Art Directors Club, Media & Marketing Europe, Australian Financial Review, and Web Summit.

I also volunteer my time and give back to the community via Board and Committee memberships.

Some key achievements and skills:

Ø Exceptional abilities in the development/implementation of marketing and growth innovations, ensuring business sustainability and continuous growth while cultivating strategic partnerships.

Ø A high impact leader and influencer with proven expertise in directing/coordinating all top to bottom functions of marketing, media, data analytics, traditional, & digital creative campaigns, business processes and performance groups.

Ø Completed large scale advertising and marketing projects, managing the entire product lifecycle, including research, prototype development, manufacturing, sales, branding, and marketing.

Ø Outstanding business and financial acumen with a forward-looking approach and collaborative styles.

Ø Interpersonal dexterity and executive influencing skills to build and sustain strong and mutually beneficial professional relationships with key stakeholders, clients, and staff members.

My area of expertise includes Brand Awareness & Integration, New Business Development, Team Leadership & Direction, Public Speaking Abilities, Consultation Services, Growth Strategies Implementation, Commercial Business Acumen, Hard-Hitting Negotiations, Stakeholder Engagement, Course Marketing, Business Transformation, Marketing & Advertising, Product Development, Risk Mitigation, Advertising and Media Solutions.

Feel free to email me at or visit my personal website

“Its been an exciting first half!” Jason Dooris

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