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Economic outlook: A mixed picture for global growth in 2024

Foreword by Martin Romo, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Capital Group

Prepare for changes in the investing climate

Heading into 2024, it’s difficult to remember another time when the outlook was so uncertain. Recession or expansion? Inflation or deflation? Higher interest rates or lower? Take your pick and you will find a pundit arguing for each scenario as if it was a foregone conclusion.

As a long-term investor, I prefer to focus on larger trends, events that may shape not just the next year, but the next decade or more. I like to use the analogy of the weather report vs. long-term weather patterns. While many others are concerned about the near-term forecast, I am looking for signs of large-scale change —events and trends that have the potential to change companies, industries, economies and the world.

Along those lines, here are some questions we are asking today: How might rapid advancements in artificial intelligence alter the way companies do business? And which companies are positioned to win the AI race? Will electricity, wind and solar power displace fossil fuels as our primary source of energy? And how long could that process take? In the bond market, with US Treasury yields near 16-year highs, are we at the start of a historic opportunity as real income returns to the fixed income universe?

On the other hand, we must be wary of gathering storm clouds. Will rising government debt levels lead to lower economic growth rates? How might worsening tensions between the US and China affect global trade? What is the risk that wars in Ukraine and Israel will spill into wider fields of conflict? And, in a pivotal election year, will market volatility keep nervous investors on the sidelines?

We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but it’s our job to explore them through exhaustive bottom-up, fundamental research. Large-scale change can bring a high degree of volatility, but also unprecedented opportunities. That’s prime time for active investing.

Against this backdrop, I invite you to read and share our 2024 Outlook report.

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