Limping into 2021

The view of earth from the International Space Station, 400 km up, is stunning.  You can’t help wondering if you can see all the band-aids.

Our poor, bruised planet and the people who live here have survived one of history’s more trying years. The worst pandemic in over 100 years has affected over 200 countries and cost two million lives.  Raging bushfires devoured Australia and the US West. The steady increase in natural disasters included a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season, flash floods, earthquakes, typhoons and volcanic eruptions.  Few people will recall 2020 fondly.

But many, it would seem, face the future with hope.

Ever year at this time we invite our members to submit an assessment of how they see the coming year in their country or region.  Our members are in 37 countries around the world, nearly all of which have taken a beating in 2020.

National metrics have always included GDP (Gross Domestic Production) and now include deaths from Covid-19. The GDP number has been inevitably negative, for Covid positive.

But our people out there unanimously feel the corner is being turned as Covid numbers shrink and the GDP grows. Most spectacular of all is Asia.

Today we are launching our 2021 Outlooks, which will be published over the next few weeks.  We are starting with Asia because that’s where the good news can be found.

The star performer is China, which has been on an amazing growth trajectory for several years. In 2020, it was the only major economy to record positive GDP year over year — +1.9%.  IHS Markit forecasts growth of 7.5% this year. Only India can top that, coming in at 8%.

You can read a summary of regional expectations for Asia here, authored by Cornerstone CEO Simon Wan who is based in Shanghai. National Outlooks available today are for China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

On Monday we will publish Thailand, Singapore and Japan.

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