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Lloyd’s systemic risk scenario reveals global economic stagnation could cost $5.2trn

24 Jan 2024

Lloyd’s research and insights platform, Futureset, today released a new systemic risk scenario that models the potential global GDP impact of a prolonged period of economic stagnation on businesses and communities, and highlights the role of insurance in building greater societal resilience.

The model, developed by Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies and Lloyd’s, estimates the potential five-year global economic impact of the economy slipping into stagnation as $5.2trn.

The scenario looks at the economic shock of a sudden collapse of a key industry and the effect across connected sectors and countries, resulting in a prolonged global downturn. The resulting impacts include a significant restriction in industrial productivity and innovation, increased unemployment levels, and a drop in consumer earnings and spending.

The financial sector is identified as being at biggest risk of the events described, as well as the retail, industrial and utilities sectors, which could be exposed to slowing revenues and cashflow challenges. The regional impacts over the five-year period would be greatest in North America, with losses under the scenario estimated at $1.6trn followed by Europe at $1.4trn and Greater China with a GDP impact of $972bn.

Over the last 60 years, major economies have only been in stagnation 3% of the time. When stagnation becomes sustained and widespread, regional events can evolve into a globally significant downturn which, without stimulus measures, could descend into a recession.

Insurance has a significant role to play in protecting businesses from many of the risks that businesses can face during periods of economic uncertainty including trade credit, mergers & acquisitions, and political or cyber risks.

“The Lloyd’s market plays a critical role in helping to build a more resilient global economy that can adapt through challenging times. Applicable to the economic environment we are experiencing today, our latest scenario illustrates the complexity of a global economic crisis and the importance of businesses being prepared.

“While the insurance industry cannot manage the risk of economic stagnation alone, it can work alongside private and public sector partners to manage these risks and support our customers with greater resilience and quicker recovery.”
Rebekah Clement, Lloyd’s Corporate Affairs Director

Severities and loss numbers

Severity descriptions: Major – Temporary or cyclical stagnation (three consecutive quarters of limited growth). Severe – Prolonged stagnation (five consecutive quarters of restricted growth). Extreme – Structural stagnation (seven quarters of sluggish population growth, reduced economic growth and unchanging economic and political institutions in advanced economies).

Using global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as its central measurement, the Lloyd’s and Cambridge model estimates the global economic impact of the economic stagnation scenario as:

  • $5.2trn is the global economic impact over a five-year period (the weighted average across the three severities we have modelled)
  • The global economic impact ranges from $4.6trn in the lowest severity scenario up to $16.9trn in the most extreme scenario
  • $62bn is the expected global economic loss (the sum-product of the five-year economic loss and the probability of the event occurring)