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  • Alastair Newton

Issues Which Keep Me Awake At Night - Outlook 2024: The Top Ten Brief

1. Assuming Biden vs Trump, if the Fed ‘soft lands’ the US and Biden sharpens up his

messaging on the economy (my base case) he has a 67% chance of winning a second

term. But if the economy founders and/or Biden fails to resonate better with the elect-

orate, Trump wins.

2. A triumphant Trump would hit the ground running with a well-developed isolationist,

protectionist and conservative agenda and the personnel to implement it. The world,

especially America’s allies, must therefore prioritise preparing contingencies now.

3. Despite expanding dialogue between Beijing and Washington, the latter will continue

to escalate its tech war against China, aiming to hobble the entire Chinese economy

and moving the world sharply towards a bifurcation in technology standards and sup-

ply chains generally.

4. Nevertheless, China’s own policy decisions stand to be even more harmful to its eco-

nomic prospects as Xi Jinping continues to prioritise protecting the Party’s (and his

own) grip on power. Expect GDP growth in 2024 of just three to four percent.

5. Irrespective of the 13 January election outcome in Taiwan, China is unlikely to invade

in the near- to medium-term. At least for 2024, therefore, the risk of a dangerous flare-

up is greater both in the South China Sea and on the disputed China/India border.

6. Five other elections in 2024:

(a) In Indonesia, unreliable though opinion polling is, Prabowo seems set finally

to fulfil his presidential ambitions;

(b) In India, Modi will easily secure a third term;

(c) In the European Parliament, right-wingers will make big gains, threatening a

second von der Leyen term as President of the Commission;

(d) In South Africa, an ANC/EFF coalition would see governance go from bad to

worse; and,

(e) In the UK, the Conservatives will lose and consign themselves to at least ten

years in opposition.

7. Despite signs of transatlantic conflict fatigue, the US Congress will vote through more

aid for Ukraine and the EU will find more ways to work round Orbán. But the war will

remain largely stalemated, as a re-elected Putin plays it long. 2025 negotiations?

8. In the Middle East, Israel will claim to have achieved its objectives in Gaza (whatever

they are); and Iran, beset with domestic problems, will restrain its proxies from being

too provocative. However, long-term solutions are more distant than ever.

9. Even in the event of a soft landing in the US, with China underperforming and non-

Opec+ oil production booming, Brent crude will end 2024 around USD70 per barrel

as the cartel fails to come up with any means of protecting its already declining mar-

ket share.

10.Climate change: COP28’s compromise on phasing out hydrocarbons was important

but mostly because it pushes governments more firmly towards policy support for ma-

jor changes in the energy economy which the private sector is already driving.



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