Expert foresight

Located all over the world and from various backgrounds and professions, GIS experts have unique insight into the regions and topics they analyze. This allows them to make detailed and accurate forecasts in the scenarios they present in each report.

2022

Rising food prices at the heart of inflation

Food prices continue to rise, forming an important part of the inflation that is causing so much trouble for consumers as the world tries to recover from the Covid-era measures that crippled economies. In June 2021, GIS founder and chairman Prince Michael of Liechtenstein predicted this state of affairs, writing, “The danger of real inflation is looming now, especially in the area where it hurts consumers the most: rising food prices. This could be harmful to the not so well-to-do in all societies, but especially in the poorer regions of the world.” Government overspending and loose monetary policy are to blame, he said. Unfortunately, those are factors that look unlikely to change in the near future.

2021

Iran-UAE rapprochement

It was reported in November that the United Arab Emirates is taking steps to de-escalate tensions with Iran, despite differences between the two countries. GIS expert Ambassador Zvi Mazel predicted this development in May of 2019, writing that the UAE wanted to "defuse tensions with Iran" because it is now "primarily focusing on its own economic interests to the exclusion of everything else." The trend, he wrote, could lead to further tensions between Abu Dhabi and its longtime ally, Riyadh.

The young chancellor’s woes

In May 2021, GIS expert Karl-Peter Schwarz wrote that young Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz might well be “past his prime.” He predicted that the 34-year-old politician would face difficult days, and that he was “no longer riding a wave of public enthusiasm; he has to swim against the tide.” On October 11, 2021, Mr. Kurz resigned from the chancellorship amid a corruption scandal that threatened to topple his coalition.

Trouble for China’s economy

While many economists were still arguing that the meteoric rise of the Chinese economy would continue for years, GIS expert Professor Enrico Colombatto correctly foresaw that economic trouble was afoot. Ahead of the Evergrande crisis, he wrote that “Chinese policymakers have indeed acknowledged the presence … of too many bad projects and poorly managed companies.” He added that, “unease in Beijing’s economic circles is rising – more than today’s current statistics reveal.” This farsighted analysis was proven accurate in September 2021, when one of China’s largest property developers reportedly faced a cash crunch.

The Balkans: Common market but no EU membership

As enthusiasm for European Union expansion remains low within the bloc, the prospects for Balkan countries joining grow ever slimmer. In a May 2021 report, Dr. Blerim Reka predicted that an EU-Balkans economic zone might be seen as a palatable alternative. “If the proposal were implemented, Western Balkans countries would be part of the EU common market, but not full EU members. They would gain lucrative free trade with the bloc, but no decision-making power in setting its rules.” he wrote. Just a few days later, at a speech in Vienna on May 19, EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said the bloc was working on doing just that. “[W]e are also looking at ways to integrate more and more closely the Western Balkans in the EU’s Single Market. This means that in certain sectors we would like to see the Western Balkans to participate in EU policies even before they become EU Members,” he explained.

Europe toughens its stance on China

In late May, the European Parliament stopped ratification of the China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, which had been hastily agreed upon in December 2020. At the heart of the matter is a dispute about allowing European countries greater access to the Chinese market. GIS founder and chairman Prince Michael of Liechtenstein had urged Europe to lessen, not enhance, its economic dependence on China already a year earlier. “Europe will not change China. China will not become democratic. But Europe can reduce its dependence on China and diversify more toward other Asian markets. Doing so will also strengthen Asian countries’ position toward China. This, and not appeasement, could help Europe gain the Chinese leadership’s respect and help it deal with Beijing on a level playing field, allowing the trade and investment relationship to forge ahead.” If Europe continued to tolerate bad behavior from China, including discrimination and abuse of religious groups, then “the Communist Party leadership will see it as clear proof of indifference and weakness,” he wrote.

Israeli-Saudi rapprochement

In October 2020, GIS expert Ambassador Zvi Mazel hinted that once the uncertainty of the U.S. elections had passed, Israel and Saudi Arabia could move to strengthen ties more publicly: "Security relations and cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the Jewish state are long-standing. Riyadh has no doubt given its blessing to the [Abraham Accords]...but its position is complex... With the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. elections, it is unlikely that a decision will come before November 3." Three weeks after the American elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu held secret talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in yet another unprecedented step toward normalization of Arab-Israeli relations.

Inflation on the way in Europe

In a recent press conference, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said that inflation in Europe could be expected both this year and in the medium term. GIS founder and chairman Prince Michael of Liechtenstein predicted this state of affairs when Ms. Lagarde was nominated for ECB head in July 2019, saying that the move “will ultimately debauch the currency.” He pointed out that Ms. Lagarde is not a banker but “a full-blooded politician,” adding: “With the ECB’s new management, it is likely that European governments have installed a willing enabler of excessive spending.”

North Macedonia’s EU accession blocked again

In late 2020, Bulgaria prevented the launch of European Union accession talks with North Macedonia, citing disagreements over language and interpretations of history. It was a severe blow to the latter country, which conducted painful negotiations with Greece that ended in a formal change of its name. GIS expert Blerim Reka foresaw this outcome, writing, “Bulgaria is holding firm, insisting that if the issues are not resolved, it will block the accession negotiations.” He added that the prospects the two countries could come to an agreement looked dim, and noted that their leaders were striking “pessimistic” tones.

2020

RCEP signed

In November 2020, 15 countries signed onto the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a huge trade agreement that will include nearly a third of the global population and 29 percent of global gross domestic product. In 2019, GIS expert Walter Lohman predicted the deal would be signed before the end of 2020, pointing out that, “[t]he economies in the region ... have an interest in completing the RCEP, not only for the economic benefits ... but also to constructively engage China.” He added that this could mean “China will continue to gain market share and the region will continue to engage it constructively, seeking Chinese trade and investment.” But the signing of the agreement does not by itself reduce U.S. influence in the region. That will depend on Washington's willingness to re-engage with its partners there, he argued.

Chile on the path to a new constitution

On October 25, 2020, Chileans voted to scrap their country’s constitution, instituted during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, and draft a new one. A month earlier, GIS expert Prof. Joseph Tulchin predicted that outcome, writing that it would “almost certainly” come to pass. However, he also warned that drawing up a new constitution could turn into a Pandora’s box. “Uncertainty and institutional instability would loom over the entire process, particularly for investors who would rightly wonder if Chile can be counted on as a bastion of stability and free-market priorities,” he said.

Turkey enters the fray in Libya

In September 2019, GIS expert Dr. Federica Saini Fasanotti correctly predicted that “a regional actor [would] intervene in support of one faction to end the conflict as rapidly as possible.” She wrote that “the most involved regional actor is Turkey, which sees Libya as a fundamental strategic chessboard within the Mediterranean Basin. Because of its extraordinary energy resources and market potential, Libya is worth a fight, economically speaking. Turkey could enter the fray more substantially.” In June 2020, Turkey played a decisive role in ending the Libyan National Army’s siege of Tripoli, making it unlikely that insurgent Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar will ever regain his advantage.

Germany’s ECB ruling

In early May, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the European Central Bank’s bond buying did not respect the “principle of proportionality,” and could have acted outside its remit by purchasing government debt. With the decision, the German Bundesbank’s participation in the ECB program was suspended. In August 2019, GIS founder Prince Michael of Liechtenstein discussed this issue before the German court, and pointed out that the ECB’s policy has enabled governments in various EU member countries to continue excessive spending. A rule in favor of the ECB, he wrote, would have been more political than legally based. While it might have stabilized the situation in the short term, it would have come at the “steep price of bending the principle of the rule of law,” wrote Prince Michael. In the long term, it would have led to a collapse of financial stability in the EU. Fortunately, the court decided differently this time.

Shoring up oil prices

Earlier this year, U.S. President Donald Trump brokered a deal with Saudi Arabia and Russia to prop up oil prices, after they had spiraled to historic lows. More than a year ago, GIS expert Professor Enrico Colombatto saw the potential for such a trilateral deal, especially if oil prices started to fall sharply. “[A] trilateral cartel could solidify and shape a new framework for the world oil market,” he wrote, emphasizing that the U.S. would play the crucial role, due to its lower dependence on oil revenue. “The ball is now in the Americans’ court, and much depends on what the U.S. producers do. The Russians and Saudis can accomplish little unless their moves harmonize with the Americans’ strategy.”

China's trade concessions

In a November 2018 report, GIS expert Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak pointed out that the U.S.’s trade deficit to China actually gave Washington leverage in the countries’ conflict over tariffs – it had more goods on which to levy such fees. He confidently predicted that Chinese President Xi Jinping could find a way to make concessions to the U.S. politically palatable, saying such a scenario had a 50-60 percent chance of coming to fruition. Less than a year later, China passed a key law on intellectual-property protection, agreed to give greater access to its financial market and promised to buy more American agricultural products.

PM Netanyahu’s electoral lead

In January 2020, GIS expert Ambassador Zvi Mazel wrote that “there are signs that [Israeli] voters on the left and on the right may decide to desert smaller parties to reinforce the two main formations and end the stalemate.” He predicted that such a development might “work in favor of Likud,” Israel’s long-ruling, center-right party. Elections on March 3, 2020 yielded precisely those results. The small parties lost voters to Likud, allowing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition to gain four more seats in the Knesset than after the September 2019 elections.

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