Makroekonomia Archive

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Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows fell by 23 per cent to $1.43 trillion.

This is  in stark contrast to the accelerated growth in GDP and trade. The fall was caused in part by a 22 per cent decrease in the value of cross-border mergers and acquisitions  (M&As). But even discounting the large one-off deals and corporate restructurings
that inflated FDI numbers in 2016, the 2017 decline remained significant. The value of announced greenfield investment – an indicator of future trends – also decreased by 14 per cent.
FDI flows to developing economies remained stable at $671 billion, seeing no recovery following the 10 per cent drop in 2016.
• FDI flows to Africa continued to slide, reaching $42 billion, down 21 per cent from 2016. The decline was concentrated in the larger commodity exporters.
• Flows to developing Asia remained stable, at $476 billion. The region regained its position as the largest FDI recipient in the world.
• FDI to Latin America and the Caribbean rose 8 per cent to reach $151 billion, lifted by that region’s economic recovery. This was the first rise in six years, but inflows remain well below the 2011 peak during the commodities boom.
• FDI in structurally weak and vulnerable economies remained fragile. Flows to the least developed countries fell by 17 per cent, to $26 billion. Those to landlocked developing countries increased moderately, by 3 per cent, to $23 billion. Small island developing States saw their inflows increase by 4 per cent, to $4.1 billion. Inward FDI flows to developed economies fell sharply, by 37 per cent, to $712 billion. Cross-border M&As registered a 29 per cent decrease, with fewer of the megadeals and corporate restructurings that shaped global investment patterns in
2016. The strong decrease in inflows was in large part the effect of a return to prior levels in the United Kingdom and the United States, after spikes in 2016.
FDI flows to transition economies declined by 27 per cent, to $47 billion, the second lowest level since 2005. The decline reflects geopolitical uncertainties and sluggish investment in natural resources. Projections for global FDI in 2018 show fragile growth. Global flows are forecast to increase marginally, by up to 10 per cent, but remain well below the average over the past 10 years. Higher economic growth projections, trade volumes and
commodity prices would normally point to a larger potential increase in global FDI in 2018. However, risks are significant, and policy uncertainty abounds. Escalation and broadening of trade tensions could negatively affect investment in global value chains (GVCs). In addition, tax reforms in the United States and greater tax competition are likely to significantly affect global investment patterns.

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BCG’s 2018 Sustainable Economic Development Assessment

 

But are those two goals actually in conflict? Do efforts to improve well-being take a toll on economic growth or, to the contrary, promote it?

We have found that there is no need to choose between well-being and growth. BCG’s 2018 Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA) reveals that countries can make the overall welfare of citizens the top priority while promoting sustainable and robust economic growth. SEDA, a tool that we launched in 2012, is designed to provide insight into the relative well-being of a country’s citizens and how effectively a country converts wealth, as measured by income levels, into well-being. (See “Defining and Measuring Well-Being.”)

In the 2018 analysis, which included 152 countries and used data from 2007 through 2016, we found that countries that were better at converting wealth into well-being tended to have faster economic growth. They also tended to be more resilient—recovering more quickly from the 2008–2009 financial crisis.

Pursuing the twin objectives of growth and well-being should be the aim of long-term development strategies. This doesn’t happen on its own, though—it is the result of thoughtful policy decisions that strike the right balance. This balanced approach is relevant not just under normal circumstances but also during times of crisis. At such times, countries must resist the temptation to prioritize stimulating economic growth or reducing fiscal deficits at the expense of well-being.

This year’s analysis reveals how well-being has evolved in the years since the financial crisis. (Explore our findings in “SEDA: An Interactive Guide.”) In addition to assessing which countries have gained or lost ground relative to others, the analysis found that on an absolute basis well-being around the world has, in general, improved in the past decade. (See Well-Being Trends over the Past Decade.)

Our analysis also provides guidance on which areas—what we call dimensions—deserve particular attention as countries aim to foster the virtuous cycle between economic growth and well-being:

  • For countries that already enjoy a relatively high level of well-being, investments in  education and employment can do the most to improve both well-being and economic growth.
  • For countries with a relatively low level of well-being, it is not enough to focus only on areas that are key pillars of development, such as health and education. They must also improve governance, a critical foundation for sustainable economic growth, and infrastructure.
  • Within infrastructure, digital connectivity has pervasive effects on all dimensions of well-being. It should be front and center for policymakers—particularly in countries with relatively low levels of connectivity.

Countries can—and should—aim to achieve the twin objectives of sustainable economic growth and improved well-being. SEDA can be a valuable tool as governments undertake this journey, shedding light on the impact of past policy decisions and informing strategies for the future.

The Role of Well-Being in the Economy

Sustainable development is every country’s goal, and improving the well-being of citizens is central to that pursuit. A country’s wealth is a major factor in determining its well-being. However, as the design of SEDA scores reflects, creating well-being requires a multidimensional approach, one that goes beyond efforts to increase wealth.

The ability to convert wealth into well-being varies widely among countries, reflecting different societal choices, policy decisions, and capacity to execute them. However, as this report makes clear, good performance offers a double reward: countries that outperform their peers in converting wealth into well-being also tend to grow faster. This finding is consistent with recent research showing that inclusive societies tend to grow in a more sustained way over the long term.

What should countries do? It depend on their situation. There are no silver bullets or standard blueprints. What we do know, however, is that the lack of progress in specific dimensions can hamper overall gains in well-being. Further, the dimensions with the best potential to boost well-being change with each new stage in a country’s development.

Over the past six years, SEDA has been an important tool for governments and international organizations as they review strategic priorities. It has been used to assess a country’s strengths and weaknesses, identify barriers to development, and set priorities and a national strategy for sustainable growth. It has also been a valuable mechanism for tracking the progress and managing the implementation of those strategies.

Focusing on the key success factors for converting wealth into well-being is not just a nice-to-have. Countries that fail to prioritize them will squander valuable opportunities for sustained progress in economic development—and find themselves gradually left behind by peers.

Authors: Joao Hrotkó; Enrique Rueda-Sabater; Vincent Chin; Nikolaus Lang

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ConsumerLab Report Ericsson – 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2018

Imagine you have just arrived home from work. You wave your hand, and the lamp turns on, flashing the light in greeting. The home speaker begins to play music, but when you give it an exasperated look, it turns off. You make a coffee, but grimace because it’s too bitter. The coffee machine immediately offers to add sugar or milk.

Two things are conspicuously absent from this vision of a not-too-distant future. One is an appliance with switches and knobs, and the other is a smartphone full of remote control apps. Our research indicates that consumers are increasingly moving towards a paradigmatic shift in how they expect to interact with technology. Ever more things are becoming connected, but the complexities of how to control them all are a different matter.

On the one hand, alternative yet equally good user interface solutions for simple functions have existed for much longer than we’ve had electronic gadgets. A Westerner who experiences an Asian meal for the first time soon finds out that the user interface to that meal is a pair of chopsticks rather than a knife and fork. On the other hand, mass-market acceptance of digital technology has made the proliferation of user interfaces practically infinite. Every new device with a screen adds new user interface variations, which are then multiplied by the number of apps within each gadget.

Today you have to know all the devices. But tomorrow all the devices will have to know you. If consumers continue to be faced with the prospect of learning and relearning how to use devices in the face of an ever-increasing pace of technological change, they will become increasingly reluctant to buy in to the future. We might already be close to that breaking point. The current generation of “flat” user interfaces do not use 3D effects or embellishments to make clickable interface elements, such as buttons, stand out. It is difficult for users to know where to click. As a result, they navigate web pages 22 percent slower.1 For this reason, our trends for 2018 and beyond focus on various aspects of more direct interaction between consumers and technology.

With 5G, connectivity is set to become ubiquitous. This might sound simple, but it involves a huge technology upgrade; devices must be able to relay complex human interaction data to cloud-based processing, and respond intuitively within milliseconds. The Internet of Things (IoT) must provide interoperability between all devices, and allow for mobility. Network availability also needs to be maintained, so that devices do not suddenly go offline and lose their human-like capabilities.

More: www.ericsson.com

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Smart cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future

 

As cities get smarter, they are becoming more livable and more responsive—and today we are seeing only a preview of what technology could eventually do in the urban environment.

Until recently, city leaders thought of smart technologies primarily as tools for becoming more efficient behind the scenes. Now technology is being injected more directly into the lives of residents. Smartphones have become the keys to the city, putting instant information about transit, traffic, health services, safety alerts, and community news into millions of hands.

After a decade of trial and error, municipal leaders are realizing that smart-city strategies start with people, not technology. “Smartness” is not just about installing digital interfaces in traditional infrastructure or streamlining city operations. It is also about using technology and data purposefully to make better decisions and deliver a better quality of life.

Quality of life has many dimensions, from the air residents breathe to how safe they feel walking the streets. The latest report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), Smart cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future (PDF–6MB), analyzes how dozens of digital applications address these kinds of practical and very human concerns. It finds that cities can use smart technologies to improve some key quality-of-life indicators by 10 to 30 percent—numbers that translate into lives saved, fewer crime incidents, shorter commutes, a reduced health burden, and carbon emissions averted.

  1. What makes a city smart?
  2. Smart-city technologies have substantial unrealized potential to improve the urban quality of life
  3. A look at current deployment in 50 cities around the world shows that even the most advanced still have a long way to go
  4. Smart cities change the economics of infrastructure and create room for partnerships and private-sector participation

What makes a city smart? Smart cities put data and digital technology to work to make better decisions and improve the quality of life. More comprehensive, real-time data gives agencies the ability to watch events as they unfold, understand how demand patterns are changing, and respond with faster and lower-cost solutions. Three layers work together to make a smart city hum. First is the technology base, which includes a critical mass of smartphones and sensors connected by high-speed communication networks. The second layer consists of specific applications. Translating raw data into alerts, insight, and action requires the right tools, and this is where technology providers and app developers come in. The third layer is usage by cities, companies, and the public. Many applications succeed only if they are widely adopted and manage to change behavior. They encourage people to use transit during off-hours, to change routes, to use less energy and water and to do so at different times of day, and to reduce strains on the healthcare system through preventive self-care.

By Jonathan Woetzel, Jaana Remes, Brodie Boland, Katrina Lv, Suveer Sinha, Gernot Strube, John Means, Jonathan Law, Andres Cadena, and Valerie von der Tann

More: https://www.mckinsey.com

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McKinsey – Economic Conditions Snapshot

Global respondents see trade-policy changes as rising risks to growth, and those in developed economies report a more cautious outlook overall than their emerging-economy peers.

Respondents around the world are sanguine about the current state of the global economy and their economies at home, according to McKinsey’s newest survey on economic conditions. But as they look ahead, they are less likely to expect global improvements, and their views divide along regional lines. Respondents in developed economies report a much more guarded outlook on their own economies, the world economy as a whole, and their trade prospects, relative to their peers in emerging economies. In particular, those in North America are more likely than others to expect declining economic conditions and trade levels, as well as changes in trade policy.

Overall, the results underline the central role that the United States plays in respondents’ thinking about growth prospects. When respondents were asked which countries will provide their companies with the biggest growth opportunities in the next year, they most often cite the United States, where interest rates—along with trade policy—have become outsize concerns. In every other region, executives also cite changes in trade policy as a risk to global growth. Since our previous survey, the share saying so has more than doubled, and the issue has also emerged as a growing risk to domestic growth and to the growth of respondents’ companies.

Increasing hopefulness in emerging economies, and waning expectations in developed ones

As we saw in the past two surveys, respondents’ views on current economic conditions remain decidedly upbeat. Fifty-eight percent of all respondents say conditions in their home economies are better now than they were six months ago—with those in India and Latin America reporting the rosiest views. Furthermore, 54 percent of respondents say global conditions are better now than they were six months ago. But their outlooks on future economic conditions diverge by region (Exhibit 1). When asked about their home economies six months from now, the shares expecting improvements range from less than 40 percent in developed Asia and North America to upward of 70 percent in India.

The contributors to the development and analysis of this survey include Sven Smit, a senior partner in McKinsey’s Amsterdam office. He wishes to thank Alan FitzGerald and Vivien Singer for their contributions to this article.

More: McKinsey