The National Intelligence Council has released the seventh edition of its quadrennial Global Trends report. Global Trends 2040: A More Conte...





The National Intelligence Council has released the seventh edition of its quadrennial Global Trends report. Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World is an unclassified assessment of the forces and dynamics that the NIC anticipates are likely to shape the national security environment over the next 20 years.

Global Trends 2040 identifies four structural forces that will shape the future – demographics, the environment, economics, and technology – and assesses how they affect decisions and outcomes. It further describes five potential scenarios for the world in 2040, based on different combinations of the structural forces, emerging dynamics, and key uncertainties. It ends with a series of graphics displaying key demographic trends in nine geographic regions.

The NIC has delivered Global Trends to each incoming or returning U.S. presidential administration since 1997 as an unclassified assessment of the strategic environment, reflecting a broad range of expert opinion in the United States and abroad. The report is intended to help policymakers and citizens anticipate and prepare for a range of possible futures.

The NIC supports the Director of National Intelligence in her role as head of the Intelligence Community and is the IC’s center for long-term strategic analysis. Since its establishment in 1979, the NIC has served as a bridge between the intelligence and policy communities, a source of deep substantive expertise on intelligence issues, and a facilitator of IC collaboration and outreach.


The World: While momentum in early 2021 will be curtailed in some countries by tougher restrictions amid the spread of new Covid-19 variants...



  • The World: While momentum in early 2021 will be curtailed in some countries by tougher restrictions amid the spread of new Covid-19 variants, the global economy should rebound later in the year on supportive fiscal policy and a quickening vaccine rollout. Potential vaccine resistant strains of the virus, logistical problems in the rollout and U.S.-China tensions pose downside risks.

  • Canada: The economy is set to rebound strongly this year, following 2020’s sharp downturn. Pent-up demand and heightened household savings should support private spending, while strong fiscal and monetary stimulus should stoke investment activity. However, uncertainty surrounding the vaccine rollout, new variants of the virus and the evolution of commodity prices cloud the outlook.

  • Euro Area: GDP is set to rebound this year amid the gradual lifting of restrictions. Supportive fiscal and monetary policies, unleashed pent-up demand and the disbursement of recovery funds will rekindle domestic spending, while reviving foreign demand will boost exports. A slow vaccine rollout crippling the tourist season, rising public debts and banks’ bad loans cloud the outlook.

  • Japan: The economy is projected to recover some lost ground this year following 2020’s sharp contraction. The external sector is set to drive the revival, with exports surging on increased foreign demand, while domestically, consumer and capital spending should improve. A resurgence in Covid-19 cases and the reimposition of related restrictions pose risks to the outlook.

  • United Kingdom: While activity in Q1 will be depressed, momentum should pick up sharply from Q2 onwards, aided by a rapid vaccine rollout, supportive fiscal and monetary stances and the progressive lifting of restrictions. However, the emergence of new Covid-19 variants and disruption as the UK adapts to its new trade agreement with the EU pose downside risks.

  • United States: This year, GDP should rebound as the impact of the pandemic fades and the labor market recovers. Stronger fiscal stimulus under Biden’s administration and unprecedented monetary stimulus should also support activity. That said, the uncertain evolution of the pandemic and ongoing tense relations with China pose downside risks.

  • Switzerland: The economy is set to expand strongly this year as external demand recovers and domestic restrictions are gradually eased. However, the uncertain evolution of the virus, a relatively sluggish vaccine rollout and somewhat tense ties with the EU due to disagreements over the renegotiation of the trading relationship pose downside risks.






  GLOBAL ECONOMIC OUTLOOK WORLD The economy is set to rebound strongly this year, following 2020’s sharp downturn. Pent-up demand and elevat...

 




GLOBAL ECONOMIC OUTLOOK



WORLD
The economy is set to rebound strongly this year, following 2020’s sharp downturn. Pent-up demand and elevated household saving should support private spending, while strong fiscal and monetary stimulus should stoke investment activity. However, uncertainty surrounding the vaccine rollout, new variants of the virus and the evolution of commodity prices clouds the outlook.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast East & South Asia Outlook Improves - Focus Economics The economy expanded 6.5% in Q4, more than expect...




FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast East & South Asia
Outlook Improves - Focus Economics

The economy expanded 6.5% in Q4, more than expected, underpinned by an export surge and robust industrial output. Moreover, private consumption likely also gained steam, as suggested by recovering retail sales. That said, momentum in December appeared more mixed: While industrial production picked up speed, retail sales growth slowed, potentially due to cold weather. Turning to 2021, GDP growth will be flattered in Q1 by a highly favorable base effect. However, underlying momentum will likely be hit somewhat by the coronavirus outbreak in North China and tighter social distancing rules. In politics, the inauguration of Joe Biden as the U.S. president should herald a rhetorically more civil relationship between the two powers, although any rollback of U.S. tariffs and restrictions on Chinese tech firms is unlikely in the near term. 
The recovery from the coronavirus-induced slump is expected to strengthen this year amid stronger domestic and external demand. That said, a possible worsening of the domestic Covid-19 outbreak, uncertainty regarding the China-U.S. relationship and elevated corporate debt levels—against the backdrop of a string of recent bond defaults— pose risks to the outlook. FocusEconomics panelists expect GDP to expand 8.4% in 2021, which is up 0.3 percentage points from last month’s estimate. In 2022, the panel foresees GDP expanding 5.3%. 

Inflation came in at 0.2% in December, contrasting November’s 0.5% drop in prices—which had marked the first annual decline since 2009. Price pressures should rise in 2021 thanks to firming energy prices and stronger domestic demand, but improved food supply—particularly of pork, as farmers rebuild their hog herds in the wake of African swine fever—will limit the increase. Our panelists forecast that inflation will average 1.7% in 2021, which is down 0.2 percentage points from last month’s estimate, and 2.2% in 2022. 

In recent weeks, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) kept its policy settings unchanged as the economy remained on the path to recovery. Looking forward, most panelists see the Bank’s key interest rate levers unchanged in 2021, although the PBOC is likely to gradually withdraw liquidity in a bid to dampen down on systemic financial risks. Panelists project the one-year deposit rate to end 2021 at 1.53% and 2022 at 1.63%. The loan prime rate is seen ending 2021 at 3.85% and 2022 at 3.94%. 

On 22 January, the yuan traded at 6.48 CNY per USD, appreciating 0.9% month-on-month, due to a combination of significant interest rate and growth differentials compared to China’s main trading partners. The currency is expected to remain broadly at current levels ahead. Our panelists see the yuan ending 2021 at 6.47 CNY per USD and 2022 at 6.45 per USD.

Brilliant paper discussing millionaires in Britain between 1928-1929. An explosion of the super-rich which was brought on by a lack of compe...





Brilliant paper discussing millionaires in Britain between 1928-1929. An explosion of the super-rich which was brought on by a lack of competition within businesses and discusses  a lot of wealth from business. Economic History Review (EHR) has long been a favorite, and this is not disappoint. Below is an abstract and a link to the full article. 
- Chad Hagan

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This article examines the composition of Britain's `millionaire’ population during the late 1920s and early 1930s, based on data for living millionaires (in contrast to previous studies, which have focused on wealth at death). Using tabulated data compiled by the Inland Revenue for all persons on incomes over £50,000 per annum, it explores the factor incomes of Britain's millionaire population and their main sources of income, by sector. It then analyses a unique individual‐level data set of British millionaires, compiled by the Inland Revenue for the 1928/9 tax year, to show their sectoral and geographical composition. Most millionaires are shown to be `businesspeople’ rather than rentiers, while landed millionaires represented only a small proportion of the total. Businesspeople millionaires are shown to be disproportionately active in a relatively narrow range of sectors, the common characteristic of which was the potential to generate abnormal profits, mainly through cartelization or amalgamation. Thus, rather than revealing the sectors most important to national wealth, or competitive advantage, the clustering of millionaires primarily reflects rising barriers to competition in interwar Britain and the abnormal profits they generated.

Japan Is Ready to Become a Member of Five Eyes Five Eyes is a five country pact composed of Anglo-Saxon countries sharing intelligence. A co...




Japan Is Ready to Become a Member of Five Eyes
Five Eyes is a five country pact composed of Anglo-Saxon countries sharing intelligence. A coalition of sorts. With Japan joining as a member we see a Chinese strategy emerging. Tokyo has wanted to join Five Eyes for years, long weary of China's encroachment. Technically this would make the organization “Six Eyes”, depending on how formal of a membership Japan takes.  - Chad Hagan




BBC: US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has sold the rights to his entire song catalogue to Universal Music Group (UMG). The deal is one of the ...



BBC: US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has sold the rights to his entire song catalogue to Universal Music Group (UMG). The deal is one of the biggest acquisitions in Universal's history and means the company will collect all future income from the songs.


Hey! Chad Hagan here and I figured I would help unwind this deal for anyone confused. There has been a lot of talk in Mr. Dylan selling his catalog. 

Perhaps this is excellent timing on Dylan's part. 2020 was the year all concerts shuttered and many musicians - even established multimillionaires like Dylan - have felt the strain.  To begin, Dylan is nearing 80 years old and may have simply wanted to get his affairs in order - the deal was rumored to be at $200m and $450m (£150m - £340m). Did UMG overpay or underpay? I think they paid market rate,  and we do not know all the specifics. UMG is private - owned in part by Vivendi (90%) and Tencent (10%) - and there is a big chance they will go public in the next year or two. Also important to note, Columbia Records (owned by Sony), Dylan's longtime corporate label and the oldest recording company in America will still be involved in the relationship. To what extent I do not know. 

What about Taylor Swift? You cannot compare the two. First off Taylor is an anomaly, she has had a number of hits, including cross-over hits and hits that can be described as international hits all in a very short career. Swift's catalog may be one of the better performing catalogs at the moment but whether this continues no one knows. Also, the public has heard about her music catalog being sold twice, when it was first purchased and then when it was resold. Swift's team do a very good job managing her brand, and the constant noise surrounding her catalog is a great example of their master spinning. That said, when the chips fall Dylan may have been paid more that $300M. 

Will other Artists Follow Suit? For sure. Stevie Nicks sold 80 percent of her catalog to Primary Wave Music. 60's music icon David Crosby tweeted the other day that he was exploring such options. David Bowie and The Beatles are perhaps the best know artists who  pioneered monetizing their music. Recently Curtis James Jackson III (50 Cent) arranged a prepayment for his catalog administration, which is typical and reminiscent of artist advances during vinyl record, cassettes and compact discs days. Top artists with performing catalogs are viewed as safe haven commodities to investors. In year past Paul McCartney's Christmas song "Wonderful Christmastime" has generated over $500K per year in royalties alone.

A brighter outlook but recovery will be gradual. Faster vaccine deployment and better cooperation for its distribution would boost confidenc...




A brighter outlook but recovery will be gradual.
Faster vaccine deployment and better cooperation for its distribution would boost confidence and strengthen the pickup but continued uncertainty risks further weakness. Vaccination campaigns, concerted health policies and government financial support are expected to lift global GDP by 4.2% in 2021 after a fall of 4.2% this year. The recovery would be stronger if vaccines are rolled out fast, boosting confidence and lowering uncertainty.

Delays to vaccination deployment, difficulties controlling new virus outbreaks and failure to learn lessons from the first wave would weaken the outlook.

The bounce-back will be strongest in the Asian countries that have brought the virus under control but even by the end of 2021, many economies will have shrunk from 2019 levels before the pandemic.

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Moderate growth is set to continue provided the pandemic can be contained effectively

The near-term global outlook remains highly uncertain. Growth prospects depend on many factors, including the magnitude, duration and frequency of new COVID-19 outbreaks, the degree to which these can be effectively contained, the time until an effective vaccine can be widely deployed, and the extent to which significant fiscal and monetary policy actions continue to support demand. Recent developments point to a rising possibility that effective vaccines will be widely deployed towards the end of 2021, improving the prospects for a durable recovery. However, time will be needed to manufacture and distribute the vaccine around the world and ensure it reaches those most at risk. Until then, sporadic and potentially sizeable outbreaks of the virus are likely to continue, as currently being experienced in many Northern Hemisphere economies, necessitating continued containment measures and strategies that differ across countries. Targeted restrictions on mobility and activity will need to be used to address any new outbreaks, accompanied by reinforced personal hygiene measures. Limits on personal interactions are assumed to persist, such as physical distancing requirements and restrictions on the size of gatherings. Restrictions on people crossing national borders are also expected to remain in force, at least partially. Voluntary physical distancing may also continue to restrain household spending.

Living with the virus for at least another six to nine months is likely to prove challenging. The impact of renewed periods of tighter containment measures on activity and confidence will differ across economies, depending on the effectiveness of testing, contact tracing and quarantine arrangements, and the availability of sufficient hospital capacity. However, even where outbreaks are more easily controlled, some of the service sectors most affected by restrictions may be disrupted. With these sectors accounting for a sizeable share of total activity and employment in many economies, adverse spillovers from job losses and bankruptcies into demand in other parts of the economy are likely. Persistent unemployment would also worsen the risk of poverty and deprivation for millions of informal workers. Pre-existing vulnerabilities that have been heightened by the pandemic, such as high corporate and sovereign debt in many countries, and trade tensions between the major economies, could also slow the pace of the recovery if there are prolonged outbreaks of the virus.

Based on the assumptions set out above, a gradual but uneven recovery in the global economy is projected to continue in the next two years following a temporary interruption at the end of the current year. After a decline of 4¼ per cent in 2020, global GDP is projected to pick up by 4¼ per cent in 2021, and a further 3¾ per cent in 2022 (Table 1.1; Figure 1.13, Panel A). OECD GDP is projected to rise by around 3¼ per cent per annum in 2021 and 2022, after dropping by around 5½ per cent in 2020. By the end of 2021, the level of global output is projected to have returned to that at the end of 2019 (Figure 1.13, Panel C), although this is not the case in all countries.

Output is set to remain persistently weaker than projected prior to the pandemic (Figure 1.13, Panel D), suggesting that the risk of long-lasting costs from the pandemic is high. Such shortfalls are projected to be relatively low in China, Korea, Japan and some Northern European economies, at between 1-2 per cent in 2022. The median advanced and emerging-market economy could have lost the equivalent of 4 to 5 years of per capita real income growth by 2022. Initial estimates of potential output growth in the aftermath of the pandemic also highlight the likelihood of permanent costs from the outbreak, with potential output growth in the OECD economies projected to slow to just over 1¼ per cent per annum in 2021-22, some ½ percentage point weaker than immediately prior to the crisis.

Considerable heterogeneity in developments in the major economies is set to persist, both between advanced and emerging-market economies, and between regions (Figure 1.13, Panel B). The economic impact of the pandemic and its aftermath has been relatively well contained in many Asia-Pacific and Northern European economies, reflecting effective containment measures, including well-resourced test, track and isolate systems, and familiarity with precautionary measures to protect against risks from transmissible diseases. In contrast, the measures required to control virus outbreaks in other parts of Europe and other emerging-market economies have been prolonged and involved much deeper declines in output.











- A gradual recovery is underway in Japan, with GDP growth projected to be around 2¼ per cent in 2021 and 1½ per cent in 2022, following an output decline of 5¼ per cent in 2020. Improving external demand will help exports strengthen further, but weak real income growth is likely to hold back private consumption. Strong fiscal measures have helped to cushion activity this year but a tighter fiscal stance in 2021, despite the new supplementary budget announced in November, will slow the pace of the recovery.


- In the euro area, GDP has declined by 7½ per cent this year, and near-term prospects are weak. Output is projected to drop by close to 3% in the fourth quarter of 2020, reflecting the recent reintroduction of stringent containment measures in most countries. Provided virus outbreaks can be effectively contained in the near term, and confidence restored, a moderate recovery is projected in 2021-22. However, area-wide pre-pandemic output levels may not be fully regained until after 2022. After sizeable support this year, fiscal policy is set to be broadly neutral in 2021 and mildly restrictive in 2022 despite the modest outlook, but Next Generation EU grants should help support investment in the hardest-hit economies during the projection period.


- A solid recovery is expected to continue in China, with GDP growth projected to be around 8% in 2021 and 5% in 2022. Monetary stimulus is now being withdrawn but fiscal policy is set to remain supportive. Strong investment in real estate and infrastructure, helped by policy stimulus and stronger credit growth, and improved export performance are driving the pick-up, and helping to boost external demand in many commodity-producing economies and key supply-chain partners in Asia. Progress in rebalancing the economy has however slowed, and significant financial risks remain from shadow banking and elevated corporate sector debt.


- The impact of the pandemic in many other emerging-market economies has been prolonged relative to that in China, reflecting difficulties in getting the pandemic under control, high poverty and informality levels, declining tourist inflows, and limited scope for policy support. Gradual recoveries are now starting in most economies, but the shortfalls from expectations prior to the pandemic are likely to remain sizeable.


- Output in India is projected to rise by 8% in FY 2021-22 provided confidence improves, after having declined by 10% in FY 2020-21. Further reductions in policy interest rates should help to support demand, if the current upturn in inflation subsides, but there is limited scope for additional fiscal measures, and pressures on corporate balance sheets and banking sector bad loans are also likely to restrain the pace of the upturn.


- A gradual recovery is projected to continue in Brazil, with GDP rising by 2½ per cent in 2021 and 2¼ per cent in 2022, after contracting by 6% this year. Strong fiscal and monetary support have helped to protect incomes and prevent a larger output decline this year. High unemployment and the planned withdrawal of some crisis-related fiscal measures will temper household spending in 2021, but historically low real interest rates and favourable credit conditions should help investment to strengthen.

The recovery remains firmly in place, with October indicators signaling still-robust economic dynamics. On 29 October, China’s top leadershi...


The recovery remains firmly in place, with October indicators signaling still-robust economic dynamics. On 29 October, China’s top leadership finalized the blueprint of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021—2025) and unveiled its “Vision 2035” program, which intends to catapult China to “moderately developed economy” status in 15 years. The final document will be approved at the March 2021 National People’s Congress. The agenda includes boosting total factor productivity, rebalancing economic development and reducing the economy’s dependence on external markets and technology. Although it is ambitious, China’s solid track record of meeting economic and social targets makes this initiative plausible. Regarding the U.S. elections, while a Biden presidency should lead to some reduction in trade tensions, the removal of existing trade tariffs is still uncertain. 

• Economic growth is expected to accelerate sharply in 2021. Next year, private consumption should be the main growth driver as it recovers from the coronavirus-induced slump and the impact of social distancing measures. Despite the new Democrat-led administration in the U.S., uncertainty over the China-U.S. relationship will likely persist and affect investment decisions. FocusEconomics panelists expect GDP to expand 7.9% in 2021, which is up 0.2 percentage points from last month’s estimate. In 2022, the panel foresees GDP expanding 5.2%. 

• Inflation tumbled to 0.5% in October from 1.7% in September, marking an over 10-year low. That said, the subdued reading mostly reflected a high base effect from last year due to the African swine fever outbreak, as well as declining fuel prices. Inflation is expected to pick up next year due to solid domestic growth. FocusEconomics panelists forecast that inflation will average 2.0% in 2021, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s estimate. In 2022, they see inflation increasing to 2.2%. 

• The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has refrained from adding monetary stimulus in recent months as the economy appears to be on a path to recovery. The PBOC uses a complex system to implement monetary policy, including key benchmark rates and reserve requirement ratios. Panelists project the one-year deposit rate to end 2021 and 2022 at 1.50%. The loan prime rate is seen ending 2021 at 3.72%. 

• The yuan continued to post gains in recent weeks due to solid economic growth and a significant interest rate differential due to an ultra-low interest rate environment worldwide. On 13 November, the yuan traded at 6.61 CNY per USD, appreciating 2.1% month-on-month. Looking forward, the yuan is expected to broadly remain at current levels. Our panelists see the yuan ending 2021 at 6.67 CNY per USD and 2022 at 6.74 CNY per USD.

  U.S. Economic Health Heavily Dependent on COVID-19 Path Housing Sector Remains Strong but Expected to Moderate in New Year WASHINGTON, DC ...

 





U.S. Economic Health Heavily Dependent on COVID-19 Path Housing Sector Remains Strong but Expected to Moderate in New Year

WASHINGTON, DC – November 17, 2020 – The response by consumers and policymakers to rising COVID-19 case counts is likely to determine whether currently projected improvements to U.S. economic growth materialize, according to the latest commentary from the Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group . While the ESR group expects the virus’ resurgence to drag on consumer spending in coming months, absent spring-like behavioral shifts and lockdown measures, it expects that the further recovery of the domestic labor market and built-up household savings will likely be sufficient to drive continued real GDP growth, which is now forecast at 3.3 percent for full-year 2021, slightly below last month’s projection, and 3.0 percent for full-year 2022. Nearer-term projections, including the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, were revised modestly downward due in part to recent signs of modest, virus-related changes in consumer behavior. Although strict new lockdown or social distancing mandates remain the largest downside risk, the ESR Group notes that economic growth in coming quarters could substantially surpass the baseline forecast if, alternatively, such measures can be avoided and the development of a vaccine progresses swiftly.

After a sharp rebound in the third quarter, housing is expected to demonstrate continued strength through the rest of 2020 and into the new year. For the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, the ESR Group has upgraded its new and existing home sales forecasts – due to stronger-than-expected sales to date – as well as its mortgage origination forecasts for full-year 2020 and 2021. However, the ESR Group noted that the home sales pace may have peaked in September and expects a moderate slowdown to be underway. Pending sales and purchase mortgage applications have recently pulled back from highs as pent-up homebuyer demand from the spring continues to recede. A renewal of infection avoidance behavior among prospective homebuyers and home sellers could also adversely impact the forecast.

“The continued geographic shift and now resurgence of COVID-19 has raised risks to the pace of growth, though in our view not to the level of a potential second recessionary downturn,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Households appear reasonably well-positioned to weather and cushion the slowdown, but if a strict broad-based lockdown were to be instituted and sustained, then the economy could turn down again. Meanwhile, the housing market continues to thrive in the low rate environment, particularly refinancing, but the sector is showing some early signs of slowing on the purchase side as the delayed seasonal effect works its way through the market.”

Brent crude prices plummeted in recent weeks as the oil market navigated election-related uncertainty in the U.S., soaring numbers of new C...


Brent crude
prices plummeted in recent weeks as the oil market navigated election-related uncertainty in the U.S., soaring numbers of new Covid-19 cases globally and despite a tightening supply outlook. On 6 November, oil traded at USD 39.6 per barrel, which was 7.5% lower than on the same day last month. Moreover, the benchmark price for global crude oil was 36.4% lower than on the same day last year and was down 40.3% on a year-to-date basis. Oil prices sank to a five-month low at the end of October, battered by the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe which prompted authorities to reintroduce lockdown measures in most countries. Moreover, rising oil output and the absence of further fiscal stimulus in the U.S. further hurt crude prices. That said, oil prices staged a strong bounceback in early November amid premature signs of a Trump victory in a tight election race. Prices dipped again, however, as Joe Biden secured the victory in the elections, promising to deliver a green new deal and signaling a likely re-engagement with Iran. Meanwhile, shrinking U.S. crude oil inventories and news that Russia is planning to roll over current production cuts until the end of Q1 2021 boded well for prices. Oil prices should regain some lost ground next year, as the global economy shrugs off the effects of the pandemic and oil demand rises thanks to rebounding economic activity. However, the outlook remains fragile amid an unprecedented mix of geopolitical, economic and health-related uncertainty. A prolonged global health crisis and the potential continuation of widespread lockdown measures, hotly contested U.S. election results, tensions in the Middle East, output volatility in Libya and OPEC+ production cuts are key factors to watch ahead. FocusEconomics panelists project prices to average USD 52.1 per barrel in Q4 2021 and USD 55.7 per barrel in Q4 2022. This month, 3 panelists upgraded their projections for Q4 2021, although 6 panelists revised down their estimates. Meanwhile, 26 panelists left their projections unchanged. Highlighting the lingering uncertainty, panelists continue to have diverging views on the price outlook: For Q4 2021, the maximum price forecast is USD 65.0 per barrel, while the minimum is USD 43.9 per barrel.




West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices plunged over the past month, rocked by uncertainty over elections in the U.S. and a frail global demand backdrop due to soaring Covid-19 cases. WTI crude oil prices traded at USD 37.0 per barrel on 6 November, which was 8.8% lower than on the same day last month. Moreover, the price was 34.2% lower than on the same day last year and was down 39.5% on a year-to-date basis. The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit Europe and the U.S. hard in late October, prompting authorities to reintroduce lockdown measures in most countries and hammering oil prices in turn. This, coupled with bearish factors in the U.S.— rising oil output, the absence of further fiscal stimulus and election-related uncertainty—sent WTI prices diving to a five-month low on 30 October. Although prices rebounded strongly in early November, on premature signs of an election victory for President Trump, Joe Biden’s projected victory in the elections dealt another blow to prices in recent days, as markets reacted to a green new deal agenda and likely reengagement with Iran. Shrinking U.S. crude oil inventories and news that Russia is planning to roll over current production cuts until the end of Q1 2021 supported the prices, however. Oil prices are seen trending upwards next year, propelled by recovering demand as the impact from the pandemic fades. That said, the outlook remains uncertain, with a longer-thanexpected global health crisis and the subsequent continuation of lockdown measures in many countries seen as a key downside risk. Geopolitical risks due to the hotly contested U.S. election results, lingering tensions in the Middle East and output volatility in Libya and the U.S. and uncertainty over OPEC+ output discipline, are all major factors to watch going forward. FocusEconomics panelists project prices to average USD 48.5 per barrel in Q4 2021 and USD 51.3 per barrel in Q4 2022.



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