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SAA Automotive Outlook Conference Recap: “Learn to stop worrying and love volatility”

Joel Whitaker, February 1, 2019

Last Sunday I was honored to present FSG’s Global Economic Outlook at the Society of Automotive Analysts’ Outlook conference in Detroit, the unofficial kickoff of the prestigious North American International Auto Show. I lightheartedly titled my presentation “How to Stop Worrying and Love Volatility” because 2019 promised to feel even more unstable for business and investors than 2018.

We expect slower growth globally — from 3.3% GDP increase last year to 3.0% this year — especially in the major advanced economies. Large auto-producing economies like China and Mexico will experience economic pressure domestically and ongoing uncertainty about trade with the US. South Korea’s economy is suffering from its China-dependent value chain while peace with North Korea is back in the spotlight. More dangerous than slowing economic growth is the risk of over-interpreting the bad news in the international business press. Financial-market volatility will continue as pundits grapple with a business-cycle downturn on the horizon in the US and eventually Europe, but there remains plenty of opportunity for multinational companies.

I also highlighted a couple of emerging markets that have become significant players in the auto industry, one of which faces much higher downside risk in 2019, and one of which might surprise foreign observers by overperforming. Which countries? You just had to be there — or you can find out by filling out the form below to download my presentation.

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