Goldman Sachs – Editor’s Sidelines, December 2020: Annus Horribilis
It’s a small consolation to know there’s a selected Latin time period that aptly summarizes 2020: annus horribilis. Usually it will appear unfair to model a whole yr as horrible, however on this yr’s case, there are few higher descriptions. To make sure, it was a very good yr for a lucky few (cue SEA’s Forrest Li, amongst others), however general it was decidedly terrible for many and on many ranges. Now ideas flip to 2021, and whether or not any causes will be discovered to be cheerful.
A standard guessing sport lately is predicting when there could be a significant finish to the pandemic and a resumption of the outdated—somewhat than new—regular. Invoice Gates, who famously forewarned of the hazards of a world virus, not too long ago forecast that the U.S. by subsequent summer time can be “starting to go back to normal” if a vaccine is out there. Nonetheless, he cautioned that for the remainder of the world, normalcy may not come till 2022, presuming international vaccine distribution. Others are extra optimistic, akin to Goldman Sachs, whose 2021 macro outlook report is entitled A V(accine)-Formed Restoration, with predictions of 6% international progress, fueled by widespread vaccinations.
One other speculative pastime is what the world will seem like post-Covid. Will it simply return to one thing that appears like B.C. (earlier than Covid)? Or will there be everlasting modifications within the international neighborhood, altering primary actions akin to how all of us dwell, work together, journey and work?
One of many most secure assumptions is that digital disruption will proceed to rework nearly each facet of life and enterprise. The digitalization course of was already underway within the B.C. period, and has solely accelerated now. Thus it appears applicable that this month’s problem includes a new listing: the 100 Digital Stars of the Asia-Pacific area.
These celebrities haven’t solely made a reputation for themselves on stage and display, however have additionally constructed a big digital presence throughout a wide range of social media. Many this yr have graciously chosen to present again, leveraging their affect and on-line followers to assist quite a lot of causes, particularly these with a Covid-19 focus.
The opposite characteristic is Indonesia’s 50 Richest listing, the ultimate wealthy listing of the yr. Indonesia can be shifting quick down the trail of digitalization. It boasts Southeast Asia’s largest web financial system, as measured by complete nationwide gross merchandise value (GMV) offered on-line. At $44 billion estimated for this yr’s GMV, Indonesia’s web financial system is greater than the mixed complete for Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, and almost 5 occasions greater than that of developed Singapore.
So other than extra digitalization, what’s going to the longer term maintain? Because the American baseball star Yogi Berra notably quipped: “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Given the previous yr we’ve all gone by, let’s fervently hope the longer term ain’t going to be one other annus horribilis.
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