Global Economic Growth in 2020: A Conversation with Julie Beckenstein

On January 30, 2020, the Meridian Corporate Council partnered with Fitch Solutions to host a Virtual Convening on the global economic outlook for 2020 and beyond. Fitch Solutions is a global economic firm that is focused on helping clients manage political, economic and credit risks. The discussion was led by Julie Beckenstein, Deputy Head of Country Risk at Fitch Solutions, and she shared insights on a 2020 global economic outlook, key political risk in emerging and developed markets and trends and global trade. The event was moderated by Ms. Natalie Jones, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at Meridian International Center.  

Beckenstein began the presentation with an analysis of U.S.- China trade, highlighting the “Phase One” agreement between the two countries that was signed at the end of 2019. While there does seem to be a cease-fire to the trade warBeckenstein argued that the paradigmatic shift in the relationship between the two countries still allows fertile ground for a re-escalation of tensions. This discussion regarding China was complemented with a forecast of the effects of the recent Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, which has since spread across China and the world. 

In addition to a consideration of China, Beckenstein also shared insights on growth challenges for Europe, referencing specific country situations including Brexit in the UK, and civil unrest in France. She also explained risks for other regions, including Latin America and Africa, particularly in terms of producers of metalsWhile demand grew exponentially for these commodities in the last decade, it is forecasted to decrease significantly over the next ten years. Beckenstein drew an insightful connection between contractions that may have already occurred and the political unrest and demonstrations by civil society that seemed to have swept the globe in every region in the last months of 2019. 

Project summary

Global Economic Growth in 2020: A Conversation with Julie Beckenstein
Impact Areas: Business and Trade
Program Areas: Diplomacy
Partners: Private Sector