Choices under uncertainty

We think politics, trade and economic policy are still moving in a positive direction

25 Feb 2020

Key takeaways

  • Our research strategists are watching the coronavirus outbreak closely for its investment and economic impact, but expect it to be largely contained to the first quarter, and to China.
  • There could be a significant hit to Chinese GDP growth, at first, but from the second quarter on, our research strategists expect pent-up demand and additional government spending to drive a recovery.
  • Crises can often accelerate change, and aspects of the recent coronavirus outbreak provide a window into the future of long-term investment themes with potential—such as digital transformation, “de-globalization” and genetic therapies.
  • You should take time to understand how some key trends can drive markets in the coming decade.

Imagine the resources China has spent fighting the virus. New hospitals were built remarkably quickly, thousands of additional doctors were hired and genetic technologies were rapidly put to use. Portable mobile gene sequencers are now in demand in China, and significant advances in genetic technologies have come to light.

Now think about the slowdown in travel and the burst of remote working and use of technology it brought. Gyms and real estate agents are offering their services remotely, using live streaming and virtual reality. Social media usage is spiking, and a shift to online business models is rapidly accelerating as Chinese consumers are forced to spend time at home.

Given that an animal was likely the source of the COVID-19 virus, calls for greater transparency on food origins may arise around the world, particularly in relation to hygiene and animal welfare. Heightened concerns could accelerate the shift to high-tech foods, such as plant-based alternatives to meat.

Hear more about the trends and lessons the coronavirus has brought to light. Our research strategists will also be discussing the “Future of waste” report and opportunities in the $2 trillion global market for waste reduction technologies. Join us for the UBS House View livestream conversation on Thursday, March 5, at 1 p.m. ET.* 

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Join CIO’s live UBS House View conversation on the first Thursday of every month at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT). 

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