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ECR survey results Q1 2019: Increased risk for US, Canada, Mexico caught in slipstream of protectionism

Protectionism is undermining an otherwise moderate global outlook as growth continues, labour markets tighten and geopolitical crises calm.

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Euromoney’s first quarterly risk survey of the year reveals a balanced global profile, with 57 countries becoming riskier (having lower risk scores) and the same number that are now safer (with higher scores).

For many countries, economic growth is creating jobs, lowering welfare bills and eroding debt-to-GDP ratios, while the return to more normal commodity price patterns, coupled with the prospect of economic activity improving in the second half of the year, has seen asset prices stabilizing after severe volatility in autumn.

Yet the global kaleidoscope of risk is constantly shifting, with North America more of a concern now that the shine has been taken off the economic outlook by US monetary policy tightening and protectionist policies.

Trump’s threats to close the Mexican border and the delays sparked by the deployment of border officials to deal with Central American migrants are adversely affecting trade flows.

The US remains the 16th safest country worldwide, according to Euromoney’s global risk rankings, but its risk score has dived this quarter, despite reaching a new US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement that will modernize the existing North American Free Trade Agreement.