This week, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management released its list of 10 geopolitical risks that it believes could wreak havoc on the market in 2019.
While Morgan Stanley WM sees a few of these scenarios as “frightening but unlikely,” many of the others have surfaced as realities in 2018.
Here is the list, from most likely to least:
- Trade Escalation Weighs on Margins
- New Hawkish ECB Chair
- Middle East and Lower for Longer Oil
- Forget Populism, Anti-Establishment and Inclusion
- Perfect Western Democratic Storm
- Tighter Liquidity and EM Crisis
- Hard Brexit or Continuing Resolution
- Forget Soft Landing, China Political Implosion
- Cyber Attack on Critical Infrastructure
- WMD Attack
“Markets have an uncanny way of looking past geopolitical risk in the face of strong economic and corporate fundamentals,” the Morgan Stanley team wrote in a note issued on Tuesday. “Geopolitics does occasionally matter, especially in the face of deteriorating fundamentals.”
While a few of these risks seem far-fetched, several have already begun to play out, including trade stressors, somewhat hawkish central bankers, tighter liquidity, and falling oil prices. Several of the risks Morgan Stanley identified also echo a number of the Gray Swans Nomura thinks could surface in 2019.
The Wealth Management team also noted that decelerating global growth means “investors may find themselves facing markets more vulnerable to geopolitical turbulence than those of 2018.”
While that may send a shiver down your spine, don’t fret too much. The note also included a recap of the risks the team saw for this year, and only four out of that list of ten actually happened.