2019 Annual Forecast

Global Trends

In today's world, nations are becoming increasingly interconnected by air, land, sea and cyberspace. As globalization has knitted countries and continents closer together, the borders of the map and the barriers of geography have been rendered, in some ways, obsolete. Now events in one region can more easily have consequences in another, at times even rippling across the globe. We explore those with the greatest impact on international decision-making during the forecast period below.

Nov 19, 2018 | 20:19 GMT
The glittering lights of the American Midwest illuminate the Earth in this captivating image taken by the International Space Station Expedition 46 crew on Jan. 5, 2016. The picture, which was taken while the station was flying above Alabama, shows numerous major cities, including the major city of Chicago (middle-left) situated on the Lake Michigan coastline. Also in view are three of the American Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan (left), Lake Huron (middle) and Lake Erie (right).
(Johnson Space Center/NASA)
section Highlights
  • A great power rivalry among the United States, China and Russia will accelerate a high-stakes arms race and increase competition in cyberspace. Global governance around these building threats will prove elusive as divisions deepen in the international system.
  • Even as the United States escalates a strategic offensive against China with additional tariffs and regulatory blocks, sanctions, increased backing for Taiwan, and maritime challenges in the South China Sea, Beijing will rely on its heavy economic leverage to chip away at U.S. alliances.
  • A White House showdown with the World Trade Organization could grind the body’s dispute settlement process to a halt, forcing countries back to a less predictable bilateral track to sort out their trade frictions.
  • As Iranian oil exports diminish under sanctions, U.S. production is set to increase, and as the global economy experiences more sluggish growth in 2019, Saudi Arabia and Russia will remain highly reactive to global oil markets to prevent a steep price plunge. Global liquefied natural gas markets, meanwhile, will grow more competitive as the United States earns its place among the world’s top LNG exporters in 2019.


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