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Global predictions for 2019

General Ideas

* Global predictions for the world economy are less optimistic than in 2018.
* Many countries also expect public unrest in the coming year.
* After a hot 2018, most expect global temperatures to continue to rise.

The latest Ipsos Global Advisor poll was carried out in 31 countries around the world at the end of 2018. The survey interviewed 21 000 adults online, and covered a range of topics on the economy, world affairs, technological advancements, and society and culture.

Since this survey is online, the South African views represented here are not of the population as a whole, but those with regular access to the Internet.

Reflecting back and looking ahead

* 2018: People are more likely to say that 2018 was a bad year for their country (62%) than it was for them and their family (46%). In a year with the controversial election of President Bolsonaro, Brazilians are among the most likely to say that 2018 was a bad year for their country (85%), narrowly behind neighbouring Argentina (86%), who were also most likely to say it had been a bad year for them and their family. More than four in five (83%) of online South Africans thought that 2018 was a bad year for our country, but with ever prevalent optimism, 86% say: “I am optimistic that 2019 will be a better year for me than it was in 2018.”

* 2019: Three in four (75%) are optimistic that 2019 will be better than last year, particularly across South America, where this sentiment was near unanimous in Peru (94%), Colombia (92%) and Mexico (90%), whereas only half in France (50%) were as positive, and even fewer in Japan (42%). In keeping with the previous point about a spark of optimism when it comes to the individuals, an overwhelming 91% of South Africans said: “I will make some personal resolutions to do some specific things for myself and others in 2019.” (This seen against the world average of 76%.)

World affairs


* Economy: About 53% say the global economy will strengthen in 2019, with above average confidence coming from India (85%) and Peru (81%). Among the least optimistic are France (24%), Japan (28%) and Great Britain (30%).

Worldwide, 37% expect major stock markets around the world to crash in 2019, which has risen from around a quarter who expected a crash in 2018. All countries have grown more pessimistic about the economy since 2018. The biggest changes are noted in Great Britain (47% compared to 25% for last year) and Russia (47% compared with 26%), where expectations of a crash have nearly doubled. South African opinions are in line with the world average, with 35% thinking that a major stock market crash is likely this year.

* Global warming: Around the world, people predict that average global temperatures will increase this year, with nearly four in five (78%) thinking so. Malaysia (88%), Chile (88%) and Turkey (86%) are the most convinced. In a blistering hot South Africa, four in every five (82%) online South Africans think average global temperatures will increase in 2019, up from 76% in the previous study. Regarding this opinion, we are on a par with Colombia, China and France. Following President Trump pulling out of the Paris Agreement last year, Americans remain the most sceptical about rising temperatures, with only 63% believing the temperature will rise.

* President Trump: Attitudes to President Trump’s future remain relatively unchanged since last year, with a third (32%) predicting his impending impeachment. As trade discussions between the United States and China intensify, the Chinese are now the most likely to think his removal from office is imminent (50%). Again, the online population of South African is close to the world average, with a third (33%) expecting impeachment; the Belgians share this opinion with us at the same level.

* Terrorist attacks: Western Europe is the most concerned about a terrorist attack this year, with nearly two in three (63%) in France thinking it is likely, followed by Great Britain (57%), Israel and Russia (both 52%). South American countries seem less concerned, as seen in Argentina (13%), Mexico (15%), Peru (15%), along with Serbia (13%). Online South Africans are also not very concerned about the terrorism issue when compared to other countries, and only a quarter (26%) believe the possibility of a major terrorist attack is high.


* Personal data: Half the global population (50%) think their personal data will be leaked on the Internet this year, but only around a quarter say they will be using social media less (28%). Countries most wary of their data being leaked include Turkey (69%), South Korea (68%) and China (65%), while this drops to nearer three in 10 in Serbia (29%) and Germany (31%). Forty-five percent of online South Africans think the possibility is high that their personal data will be leaked, but a fairly comfortable majority (60%) say that is it unlikely that they will use social media channels less.

* Artificial intelligence: Two in five (38%) on average predict that doctors in their country will use artificial intelligence to decide on treatment for their patients in 2019. This is seen as more likely across Asia, particularly in China (60%), Malaysia (58%) and India (57%), whereas Eastern Europe seems more hesitant, as seen in Russia (21%), Hungary (23%), Czech Republic (25%) and Serbia (25%). In South Africa, online opinions are divided on this issue, with 39% saying it is likely and 49% saying it is unlikely that doctors will use artificial intelligence for this purpose.

* Entertainment: Eight in 10 on average (80%) think it’s likely that people around the world will spend more time online than watching TV in 2019. In South Africa, the opportunity for growth in connectivity of the general population is high, and 84% of online South Africans expect to spend more time online than watching television, the same proportion as in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Society and culture

* Protests and riots: Over half (56%) expect large-scale public unrest (such as protests or riots) in their countries. For South Africa, the possibility of public unrest look high in this election year as three-quarters (74%) say it is definitely likely for protests to happen. In France, President Macron’s problems do not appear to be ending this year, with four in five (83%) in France predicting more unrest.

* Gender equality: Only two in five (42%) think women will be paid the same as men for the same work, but women are much less optimistic than men (36% and 48% respectively). Just over half (52%) of online South Africans are optimistic regarding gender parity, but 43% believe it is unlikely to happen soon.

* Social cohesion: People do not expect social divisions to heal very much in 2019, as just a quarter (26% on average) think people in their country will become more tolerant of each other. South Africans are not optimistic about this issue either, and only 30% of those online think that some form of social cohesion is likely, while two-thirds (65%) say it is unlikely to happen soon. In Europe, at least eight in 10 think it unlikely that tolerance will increase in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, Netherlands and France.


* Nearly two in five (38%) think it likely that a cure for the common cold will be discovered this year.
Online South Africans are aligned with the global opinion at 38%, not to mention that a Nobel prize will definitely be in the offing for such a breakthrough.

* Ghosts and aliens: While no nations were very convinced that any will happen, still over one in 10 globally think there is a likely chance of discovering the existence of ghosts (16%) and time travel (15%), or Earth being visited by aliens (13%). In the old tradition of telling ghost stories around a campfire, one in five (22%) South Africans says the existence of ghosts is likely to be discovered, almost the same proportion (21%) say time travel is likely, and 11% believe aliens will visit the earth. This last opinion places us right between Hungary and Germany.

Technical notes:

* These are the findings of the Global Advisor Wave predictions survey for 2019. In total 21 141 interviews were conducted between 21 December and 9 January among adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries.
* The survey was conducted in 31 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.
* For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 21 141 adults aged 18-64 in the US, Israel and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed. Approximately 1 000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel, with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Hungary, India, Israel, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+.
* Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country Census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points for a sample of 1 000 and an estimated margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20 per country of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in that country had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
* Eighteen of the 31 countries surveyed online generate nationally representative samples in their countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States).
* Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, Chile, Colombia and Malaysia produce a national sample that is more urban and educated, and with higher incomes than their fellow citizens. We refer to these respondents as “upper deck consumer citizens”. They are not nationally representative of their country.
* Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don’t knows or not stated responses.
* Data is weighted to match the profile of the population.


Ipsos Press Release


105 Comments on "Global predictions for 2019"

  1. JuanP on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 7:56 am 

    You have been posting links claiming that China’s economy is collapsing for over five years now, Davy. I do believe that it will happen sooner or later because the whole global economic system will at some point inevitably collapse, but you and all your links have been systematically wrong so far.

  2. Davy on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 8:09 am 

    “Big Trouble in Little China The country’s economic problems are starting to escalate”

    “Official GDP growth, is of course on track at 6.6 percent for the year 2018, stellar among industrial and even emerging economies. But nobody believes these figures, even though they are the worst since 1990. “Real GDP fell by 1.7 percent and 0.6 percent in Q3 and Q4 respectively compared with the official figures showing growth of 6.4 percent and 6 percent,” Enodo Economics chief economist Diana Choyleva wrote in a note to clients about the annualized growth during the past two quarters of 2018. According to Choyleva, China is experiencing an unofficial recession.”

    “Going Down No matter which official indicator you look at, the Chinese economy is in decline. Retail sales growth is barely above 5 percent, the lowest level since 2003 with automobile sales crashing 13 percent. Total imports in U.S. dollar terms are down 7.6 percent in December of 2018 as compared to the year before. Imports in China are crashing. (Capital Economics) China’s current account balance, or the amount of exports over imports and one of the main drivers of Chinese growth over the decades is down to 0.37 percent of GDP, from 10 percent in 2008. Given these figures, it isn’t surprising that research firm Capital Economics doesn’t “rule out a sharper-than-anticipated slowdown in China’s economy.” With exports down 4 percent, the analysts at Oxford Economics are also sounding the alarm bells.”

    “Although the Trump administration’s tough stance on Chinese anti-competitive policies certainly isn’t helping Beijing, it is not the cause of the slowdown and problems in the Chinese economy: Trade with countries from Asia slowed much more than bilateral trade with the United States and the Chinese domestic problems like a slow down in retail sales cannot be explained by a limited amount of tariffs.”

    “Debt Problems The main problem of the Chinese economy is debt and overcapacity. Debt has blown up to 300 percent of GDP through the state-controlled banking system.”

    “If it’s not useful or sustainable, it won’t generate the returns necessary to service said debt. This problem could have been nipped in the bud, but Chinese central planners wanted ever more steel mills and high speed trains and push back the day of reckoning when most of the unprofitable companies would go bankrupt. So in order to keep the gravy train running, more debt had to be issued to build more stuff. Now, the debt growth has also come to a halt, which is most likely the root cause of the massive slowdown. Official broad credit growth has slowed to around 10 percent, the lowest in a decade.”

    “Getting Desperate After the new year, the PBOC easing became less clandestine as the central planners in the Chinese regime are getting desperate. After lowering the amount of money banks have to hold on reserve in late 2018, the PBOC started a full blown Quantitative Easing (QE) scheme in the beginning of 2019.”

    “These tectonic shifts will make it a lot harder – if not impossible – for Beijing to count on the tried-and-tested tools of policy stimulus to restore sustainable growth. Unsettled as they are, global financial markets have yet to grasp that this time it really is different in China.”

  3. Sissyfuss on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 8:44 am 

    In the age of Limits to Growth any and all growth now is debt based. This econ system is locked in. Real growth exists only in the number of humans on the planet. All else is in retreat.

  4. JuanP on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 9:42 am 

    Anybody who reads an article with a title that calls China “little” is a biased fool wasting his time reading biased shit written by biased people. There is nothing “little” about China. I didn’t waste my time reading that shit, but I suggest all delusional exceptionalists to feel validated in their delusions. Birds of a feather flock together! LOL!

  5. Cloggie on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 1:03 pm

    Paris live, lots of teargas.

    Note this is the 12th week in succession.

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