The most important political events, prospects for the development of global economy, major risks and challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic – experts throughout the world try to make forecasts as regards these and other issues. This was particularly done by analysts of the Eurasia Group (EG) consulting company, who presented the top 10 key risks for countries, international politics, industries and institutions that the world will face in 2021. Company experts say the list is not intended to escalate or intimidate of the upcoming negative events, but to help politicians, businessmen and various companies to forecast and respond to emerging possibilities.
So, EG analysts outline the following 2021 risks that may affect the global situation: "divided America" following the November 3 presidential election, with about half of the country considering the head of state illegitimate; the continuing coronavirus pandemic with a subsequent distribution of vaccines to entail a gap between the rich and the poor not only within countries but also among them; the fight against climate change, which will lead to harsh international competition in this area.
Other strong challenges mentioned are: heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing that will inevitably affect relations of other countries; high chances of a global cyber conflict, which may cause unprecedented technological and geopolitical risks; the upcoming resignation of Angela Merkel as German Chancellor with its possible unpredictable consequences for European countries.
Moreover, EG experts believe that the risks will include the weakening of economies in the Middle East, when many governments will reduce spending over low oil prices, thus harming vulnerable private sectors and increasing unemployment; economic difficulties and his poor response to the coronavirus will make Turkish President Recep Erdogan fight for the votes of disillusioned people; social and economic crises in Latin America due to elections in some countries and the pandemic.
In turn, journalists, readers and experts of the British Financial Times (FT) newspaper also tried to forecast what the year 2021 will look like. According to the outlet's experts, the coronavirus pandemic will dominate in 2021, having a serious impact on both the economies and the situation inside most of the world's countries, whose populations hope to get a vaccine to protect themselves from COVID-19. FT analysts are also concerned about the atmosphere in Europe after Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, being is the Old World's leading politician playing an important part both in her country and the entire European Union, leaves her post this year.
The Financial Times is a British newspaper, making its experts and readers quite naturally concerned about their country's relations with the European Union it has left (Brexit). Not least important for the British is whether the foreseeable future will see a Scottish independence referendum, with the region's dwellers likely to vote for their secession from the United Kingdom, which may ultimately lead to its collapse. London fears such a scenario, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will strongly oppose such a referendum.
FT experts and readers believe that the new year will prove a serious test for the United States. After the presidential election, the country split into two opposing camps: supporters of Democrat Joe Biden, who won the election on November 3, 2020, and the still-incumbent Republican President Donald Trump, who never admitted defeat. Analysts of the outlet argue that President Biden will not become a "lame duck", since the January 6 Senate elections gave the Democrats a majority in both houses, making them able to navigate any decision by Joe Biden's administration through the Congress.
No less vital is whether the United States and China will manage to strike a trade deal and end confrontation between the world's two most powerful economies. FT analysts believe that tensions between Washington and Beijing will survive throughout 2021, although the planet will witness a more conciliatory tone in relations between the US administration and China. Besides, under the new president Washington is believed to re-join the nuclear deal with Iran.
The newspaper also argues that Nicolas Maduro will retain power in Venezuela this year, as opposition leader Juan Guaidó has lost trust he has been enjoying with both the population and western countries that used to support him. At the same time, Venezuela's international supporters — Russia, China, Iran and Cuba — adamantly endorse Maduro, and his only serious concern is a possible palace coup. For this very reason he is guarded by a considerable and well-trained team of Cuban bodyguards, FT readers say.
A serious 2021 challenge will be the issue of combating climate change. Experts believe that global carbon emissions into the atmosphere will return to the pre-pandemic level. According to current estimates, 2020 witnessed the emissions fall by 7% after COVID-19 brought the global economy into a comatose state, to become the largest annual slump since the end of World War II. However, daily airborne emissions are gradually returning to the late 2019 levels, especially China with its over a quarter of global emissions.
As a UK business outlet, the newspaper and its readers are primarily concerned about the issues of economy and business. For instance, FT experts forecast the return of India's economy to the level that existed before the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, the Indian economy will grow by 10 per cent in 2021. This recovery will be nevertheless accompanied by huge imbalances, as larger companies with better capitalization increase their share at the expense of losses suffered by small family-run businesses.
The FT predicts that oil prices will remain at over $50 per barrel this new year. The oil market is believed to have got a boost amid plans to implement mass vaccination. In the wake of certain global economic growth, oil consumption will also flourish. This may offset any number of additional barrels produced by OPEC member states, Russia and other deal partners that previously agreed on record cuts. This alliance looks fragile, but the worst possible scenario would be the uncontrolled release of millions of oil barrels to the market. All the parties to the agreement seek to avoid slumping prices, and therefore it is more likely that any correction will comply with a rebound in demand, as considered by experts with the influential British newspaper.