A trade war erupted between the United States (US) and China, a massive Facebook scandal cast a global spotlight on data protection, and the denuclearisation of North Korea is being negotiated following an unlikely meeting that almost did not happen.
In 2018, the world revealed itself in ways that few would have predicted and 2019 looks set to dish up another set of surprises.
The market landscape is set to venture deeper into a mature stage of the global economic cycle especially for the US. Trade uncertainties are also weighing on the growth outlook and market sentiment.
It’s anyone’s guess what might happen next. Here are nine things to look out for in the year ahead.
1. What’s next for Brexit?
The clock is ticking to when Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019. The question on everyone’s minds now is: Will there be a deal or no deal? Whatever the case, the departure is expected to boost growth and export figures for the EU while translating to higher unemployment for the bloc.
2. Challenging global economy
As US tariffs continue to weigh on China’s exports, China is expected to roll out more policy stimulus to support growth and mitigate slowing domestic growth. The global bull market is coming close to a 10-year run and we are likely to see a market characterised by heightened volatility and a broadly challenging environment for returns.
3. Super-fast Internet with SpaceX
Internet speeds are about to get really fast. Technopreneur Elon Musk‘s company SpaceX plans to launch an initial 800 satellites to deliver affordable and high-speed Internet access from space to blanket the Earth. If successful, it could provide high bandwidth, low latency broadband services of up to 1Gbps per user. It is set to be a quantum leap from current top average fixed broadband speeds of about 200Mbps.
4. The rise of A-commerce
Augmented reality (AR) looks set to change the way we shop online, especially with the proliferation of AR-enabled mobile phones that superimpose computer-generated images on a user’s view of the real world. AR is now the fastest-growing technology in the world according to Zion Research, and it is estimated to go from a US$3.33 billion dollar industry in 2015 to over US$133 billion in 2021.
5. Robot dogs set to invade your home
There is no hiding from technology disruption. Boston Dynamics’ Artificial Intelligence-powered dog-like robot called SpotMini caused waves of panic with conspiracy theorists when the company released video clips of it bouncing along and autonomously opening a door in 2017. Futurists should rest easy because this reloaded version of Man’s best friend seems friendly. It is being tested for use in construction, delivery, and security and looks set for mass production by July 2019.
6. India will drive global economic growth
India is set to dominate the world when it comes to the top 10 cities for economic growth with Surat, a diamond processing and trading centre in Gujarat, expected to enjoy the fastest expansion through 2035. According to an Oxford Economics report, all the top 10 fastest-growing cities in the world from 2019 to 2035 will be from India.
7. Mark your sports calendars: 2019 Cricket World Cup & FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019
The biggest cricket and female football tournaments in the world are set to take place in the middle of the year in Britain and France respectively, with some overlap of match schedules, and viewership for the two sporting events is set to boom. Football’s global popularity is anticipated to drive a viewership of over 800 million for the Women’s World Cup while the Cricket World Cup will attract more than 2 billion viewers around the world.
8. Singapore poised for a general election in 2019?
The next general election in Singapore is due by January 2021 but the majority of Singaporeans believe it is more likely to happen sometime in 2019, according to a recent poll. Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat could become the country’s next prime minister and will have to hit the ground running with a growing list of challenges, including Singapore’s declining productivity and the need to increase the pace of restructuring.
9. Singapore marks 200 years of history
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