Political and social conflicts are the largest threat to economic growth next year, according to the 2015 global economic report by Eurochambres, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Survey respondents, comprising major chamber organisations members of the Global Chamber Platform (GCP), also identified the financial system's continued instability and income inequality as the second and third biggest obstacles to future growth.
GCP member organisations representing Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, Australia, and Russia expected economic growth in 2015 to be lower in their region than the World Bank forecast. In contrast, the US chamber expected GDP growth of 3.2%, which is higher than the World Bank's 3.0% estimate, and China’s chamber expected 7.5% growth, which was equal to the World Bank forecast.
Members also highlighted the limited access to financing and investments as an obstacle for business. The global report cautioned that the problem could exacerbate as economies gradually unwind economic stimulus packages. Additionally, most chambers saw new financial regulations as insufficient to prevent a future crisis.
“As risks in financial markets have shifted from the banking sector to other less regulated areas, it is crucial that we close existing gaps through more coordination at the global level to ensure that systemic risks remain manageable,” GCP chairman Christoph Leitl said. On a more positive note, the report states that business confidence is expected to remain stable throughout 2015, with FDI levels anticipated to increase as global economic activity improves.