In this year’s edition of our flagship annual publication, Barclays Research analysts delve into several supply shocks the world is likely to face in coming years and how they might affect the global economy. Analysts find that on almost all fronts, the world is likely looking at a more inflationary environment than in the last three decades.
"The world economy is changing at an incredible pace. Changes such as the green transition are coordinated and by design, others are driven by realpolitik or happenstance. But they have three features in common: the shifts are structural, very likely to be inflationary, and last for years to come."
Global Chairman of Research
In the opening chapter, on the green transition, Christian Keller, Head of Economics Research, argues that achieving carbon neutrality will require an unprecedented transformation for the global economy. A wholesale reallocation of resources is not unachievable, but the journey will be bumpy, involving new taxes and tougher regulation. Studies suggest that the transition will be inflationary initially and could come at the cost of a small decline in GDP, before turning deflationary over time.
Changes in working practices during the pandemic raised questions over whether tight labour markets would become a recurring feature of the macro landscape. Silvia Ardagna, Head of European Economics Research, and Marc Giannoni, Chief US Economist, argue that the supply of labour is likely to remain limited, as working populations grow older and as societies resist reforms that might help to alleviate pressures, such as raising pensionable ages or lifting curbs on immigration.
In the third chapter, Maggie O’Neal, Global Head of ESG Research and Ben Theurer, Head of LatAm Equity Research, tackle the rise of food insecurity. Growth in population requires smart use of scarce resources to feed ourselves and future generations. Yet extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe, posing real threats to agribusiness and to infrastructure. Barclays’ analysts point out that technological breakthroughs, such as vertical farming and gene editing, are vital, in order to boost crop yields and quality.
As semiconductors have become the most vital components within a host of global manufacturing industries, the battle to produce and secure them has intensified. Blayne Curtis, US Semiconductors Equity Analyst and Sandeep Gupta, Technology Credit Analyst, consider possible shifts in chip supply chains, while evaluating the challenges in the unbundling of four decades of globalisation. Ultimately, technological supremacy will drive changes.