How many times a day do you check your mobile phone? In an ever so fast-moving and digitalized world you can get instant updates on everything from global politics and economics to what your kids are up to in just a glimpse. The information load you are exposed to on a daily basis is growing exponentially as we go along.
Connectivity may simplify and enrich day-to-day life, but what will happen to people?
Will they be able to think for themselves, evaluate demanding situations and make their own choices? Do not expect your phone to be any less busy in 2018.
Solid Chinese growth
The global economy is expected to stay solid, with high activity levels, solid GDP development, relatively strong employment and improved consumer confidence. Expect the U.S. economy to benefit from sustained growth in consumer spending and an improving investment climate.
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We also foresee a slowdown in Europe through 2018 as Brexit-related uncertainty delays investment. Meanwhile, Chinese growth is expected to continue to slow but still solid in absolute terms, as excess debt and industrial capacity restrict investment and limit options for government stimuli.
Currency fluctuations, protectionism and energy prices
Despite the fairly bright prospects for 2018, there are enough risk factors to keep an eye on. Expect currency fluctuations and protectionism to be high on the agenda.
Another risk is the development of energy costs. Energy prices influence the input cost for producers and consumers, as well as the income of several countries like Russia and Brazil. The oil price seems to have stabilized around USD 50 per barrel due to greater discipline among the OPEC countries. Energy prices will be crucial to the fragile growth of some developing markets.
Russian and Brazilian auto sales are currently half what they were a few years back, but it looks like we have turned a corner and we now see sales growth in these countries as energy prices are stabilizing. However, geopolitical tensions can easily trigger events influencing the oil price.
New mobility initiatives
You will not see shared, self-driven electric vehicles in a larger scale in 2018. But there will be a movement in this direction with several players announcing new initiatives making electric vehicles more affordable with an increased range during 2018.
Regional and local governments will to a larger degree focus on sustainable mobility solutions, and the public perception will be more and more open to new solutions.
Globally, 1.2 million people are killed in traffic every year. Self-driving will enable this figure to be reduced significantly. Increased safety is the key effect for societies, while lower cost for mobility and cleaner transportation are other the positive effects.