Emerging markets have driven growth for many multinational corporations (MNCs) for years, and they will continue to do so. But these are turbulent times as commodity prices plunge, currencies are devalued, and equity markets gyrate. The profitability of many MNCs' operations is already under attack, and future performance will be challenged by slower macroeconomic growth, increasing costs, and heightened competition from local companies, which are rapidly gaining scale, experience, and capability. To reduce these pressures, companies will have to focus much more on improving their competitiveness through constant productivity gains.
Of manufacturers planning to add production capacity over the next five years for goods consumed in the U.S., more plan to add that capacity in the U.S. than in any other country - a sharp reversal since as recently as two years ago. And a rising percentage of U.S.-based executives at the manufacturers say they are already in the process of reshoring production work from China. These are among the findings of new research released today by The Boston Consulting Group.
Even though world merchandise trade growth is expected to rise just one percent through the end of this year, U.S. businesses are optimistic about trade over the next six months, buoyed by the prospect of changes to government trade regulations, and momentum in the current U.S. domestic economy, according to the latest findings from the U.S. HSBC Global Connections Trade Forecast.
If there had been any doubt as to how quickly the global economic landscape - and the market perceptions of it - can change, it would have been erased by events during August and September 2015. Concerns about the Chinese economy and fretting over the next move by the U.S. Federal Reserve triggered massive global market volatility in stocks, commodity prices, and exchange rates. And that turmoil underscored a critical imperative: leaders of companies operating around the world need to move beyond old views and conventional wisdom as they set global strategies.
Foreign direct investment has never been more important in catalyzing growth, whether in the developed or developing world. Although equity markets around the world have largely recovered since the financial crisis, global capital flows have contracted sharply. The Milken Institute's Global Opportunity Index provides policy makers and investors vital information on policies that can best attract foreign direct investment, expand economies and accelerate job creation. The index is also a guide for countries seeking to improve their business environments and attract investors who commit long-term capital, rather than move it around as a fleeting portfolio tactic.
Success in the global economy requires a shift in strategic vision of the Asia-Pacific region's role in supply chains. While it is no secret that an end to low-cost production in Asia is in sight, smart companies are studying the complexity of APAC region and gaining insight into the roles each country plays in the quickly evolving economic horizon. But visibility into where APAC is today isn't enough; forecasting where it will be next year, five years from now, and further into the future are key to positioning supply chains now for ongoing optimization.