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INSIGHTS January 2016
Geopolitical Threats for
the Year Ahead: Marsh’s
Political Risk Map 2016
INSIGHTS January 2016
1  marsh.com
INTRODUCTION
In the last decade, multinational organizations have undertaken
unprecedented international expansion, leaving them exposed
to global credit and political risks like never before. And those
risks — including terrorism and political violence, armed
conflicts, increasingly powerful anti-establishment political
movements, and persistently low commodity prices — continue
to grow. Multinational risk professionals must now be prepared
for virtually any type of political or economic risk threat in both
developed and emerging markets.
Drawing on data and insight from BMI Research, a leading source
of independent political, macroeconomic, financial, and industry
risk analysis, Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016 presents a global
view of issues facing multinational organizations and investors.
Accounting for in-country political, economic, and operational
risks, the map presents overall country risk scores for more than
200 countries and territories, helping businesses and investors
make smarter decisions about where and how to deploy financial
resources — including risk capital — globally in 2016 and beyond.
The following are key findings from BMI and Marsh regarding the
major political risks that organizations and investors will face in the
coming year. We also invite you to explore an interactive version of
our Political Risk Map 2016 on marsh.com.
INSIGHTS January 2016
Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016  2
TERRORISM
Attacks in 2015 have led to a
renewed focus by world powers on
combating terrorism. Of greatest
concern is the Islamic State, which
remains powerful in Iraq and Syria
and is expanding its presence
throughout the Middle East and
North Africa. The “war on terror,”
which began in earnest after the
September 11, 2001, attacks in the
United States, is likely to continue
for at least another decade,
according to BMI.
“The United States and Russia
have learned lessons in the past
about the difficulty of fighting
ground wars for extended periods
of time in the Middle East and
Afghanistan, and neither country
appears willing to risk repeating
those earlier experiences,” said Yoel
Sano, BMI’s head of Global Political
and Security Risk. “That means the
most likely response from these and
other governments will be an air
campaign, which may not be enough
to defeat the Islamic State.”
In addition to their role in
prolonging instability in the Middle
East, the risk of terrorist attacks
will persist in North American,
European, and Asian countries,
even as they introduce stronger
security measures. The threat
of terrorism has also increased
concerns in Western countries about
immigration policy, and has proven
to be a boon for right-wing political
parties in Europe.
CONFLICTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
The November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris have prompted Western countries to
intensify airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria. France, for example, deployed
its flagship aircraft carrier to the region to participate in the airstrikes. However, the
Syrian civil war, which began in early 2011 amid the larger Arab Spring movement,
continues in 2016. It has essentially become a proxy war between global and regional
powers, with Russia and Iran fighting on the side of the Syrian government, and the
United States, United Kingdom, France, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia among the leading
supporters of the opposition. The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees into
neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey has put severe strains on government
services in these countries and has jeopardized their security.
Meanwhile, although Iraqi forces recaptured the city of Ramadi from the Islamic
State at the end of 2015, the bigger challenge will be to regain Iraq’s second-
largest city, Mosul, from the group. Even if that happens, however, much of Iraq’s
Sunni minority is likely to remain highly distrustful of the Shi’a-dominated Iraqi
government. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s control over paramilitary forces also
remains limited by strong political opposition to his anti-corruption campaign and
other policies. Elsewhere in the region, deteriorating relations between Iran and
Saudi Arabia — which severed diplomatic ties at the start of 2016 — will exacerbate
Shi’a-Sunni divisions in the Middle East.
The “war on terror,”
which began in
earnest after the
September 11, 2001,
attacks in the United
States, is likely to
continue for at least
another decade,
according to BMI.
INSIGHTS January 2016
3  marsh.com
EMERGING ECONOMIES
STRUGGLE
China continues to struggle as the
country’s economy shifts its focus
from investment to consumption. In
the third quarter of 2015, real GDP
growth in China fell to 6.9% year
over year, the slowest growth since
the first quarter of 2009. Economic
reforms, a weak real estate market,
over-leveraging of corporate
entities, and rising wages —
which will eliminate a significant
competitive advantage for Chinese
manufacturers — will likely continue
to limit growth in the next several
years. In 2016, BMI forecasts real
GDP growth of 6.3% (see Figure 1).
China’s slowdown is emblematic of
the broader struggles of emerging
markets globally. In Brazil,
fixed investment and household
consumption remain weak, driven
by rising job losses, high inflation
and interest rates, and a prolonged
investigation into alleged corruption
at Petrobras; BMI forecasts GDP
contraction of 4.4% in 2016.
Meanwhile, investment growth in
Russia has been minimal since 2012,
and the deep recession in 2015 only
exacerbated the problem for the
Russian economy. Consumption
will likely recover slowly in 2016,
but inflation will stay high and
nominal wage growth will remain
subdued. BMI forecasts real GDP
growth of 0.5% in 2016.
A bright spot among emerging
economies is India, for which
BMI forecasts real GDP growth
of 7.2% in 2016. Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s business-friendly
government has launched several
initiatives designed to boost
economic investment, including by
foreign entities, and to stabilize the
Indian rupee. Industrial production
is also expected to increase as many
companies have announced plans to
build factories in India in 2016.
2016 US PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION
Although foreign relations and
defense policy were already areas
of focus in the run-up to the US
presidential election, the recent
terrorist attacks in Paris and San
Bernardino, California, intensified
political rhetoric and brought these
topics to the forefront. With polls
showing national security to be a
FIGURE 1	 GDP Growth in Brazil, Russia, India, and China, 2010 to 2016
Source: BMI Research
CHINA INDIA BRAZIL RUSSIA
2010
-6%
0%
6%
12%
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015* 2016*
*PROJECTED
INSIGHTS January 2016
Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016  4
major concern for voters, foreign
policy will remain a key theme on
the campaign trail in 2016 — and
will be top of mind for the next
presidential administration.
“Presidential candidates in both
major political parties have
criticized what they regard as the
Obama administration’s ‘aloof’
approach to foreign policy, which
they see as contributing to China’s
assertive stance in the East
and South China Seas, Russia’s
intervention in Ukraine, and
Islamic State’s growth in Iraq and
Syria,” Mr. Sano said. “Regardless
of the election outcome, the next
president is likely to take a more
interventionist approach following
the 2016 election.”
ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT
PARTIES IN EUROPE
Terrorism, the migrant crisis,
austerity measures, and other
economic factors have contributed
to the rise of anti-establishment
parties in Denmark, France,
Germany, Greece, Spain, the United
Kingdom, and other countries.
In most cases, these parties do
not appear likely to win power
through elections, but they could
influence rhetoric and public policy
as members of ruling coalitions
with other parties. Many anti-
establishment parties — particularly
on the far right — have espoused
tougher stances on immigration
and defense amid the migrant
crisis and following the attacks in
Paris. Their growing power is likely
to continue to test the European
Union’s principle allowing for the
free movement of workers.
CRITICAL TESTS FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION
The ongoing migrant crisis — stemming from conflicts and
poor living conditions in Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Libya,
and elsewhere — will be a major test for the European Union.
Under the Schengen Agreement, which took effect in 1995,
free movement — without border checks — is legal across
the vast majority of the EU. All but two EU members — the
UK and Ireland — participate in the Schengen Agreement or
are obliged to do so in the future; non-EU members Iceland,
Norway, and Switzerland also participate. But as several
countries have struggled with the rapid entry of migrants
into their territories, the future of the Schengen Area is now
in question. In 2015, passport checks were introduced along
the borders between Austria and Germany, Sweden and
Denmark, and Sweden and Germany. As public anti-immigration
sentiment grows in many EU nations, more divisions between
member states are likely to develop in 2016, unless there is a
coordinated EU-wide response.
Meanwhile, questions about the future of the EU itself have
been raised as the referendum on the UK’s EU membership
approaches. The so-called “Brexit” (British exit) referendum
is expected to occur in 2016; BMI estimates the likelihood of
the UK exiting the EU at 35%, although this could change.
To date, the UK’s Conservative government has remained
neutral on the issue as it negotiates with the EU on several
matters, most notably limiting immigration into the UK and
curtailing benefits for EU nationals working in the UK. The
outcome of these negotiations could determine whether the
government campaigns in favor of or against a UK exit, which
would significantly affect the referendum results. A presidential
election in France and federal elections in Germany — both
scheduled for 2017 — could also help shape the future of the EU.
Economic reforms,
a weak real estate
market, over-
leveraging of
corporate entities,
and rising wages
will likely continue
to limit growth
in China in the
next several years.
INSIGHTS January 2016
5  marsh.com
ALASKA (USA)
CANADA
GREENLAND
(DENMARK)
CAPE VERDE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
MEXICO
THE BAHAMAS
CUBA
BELIZE
GUATEMALA
EL SALVADOR
HAWAII (USA)
KIRIBATI
HONDURAS
NICARAGUA
COSTA RICA PANAMA
ECUADOR
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
(ECUADOR)
JAMAICA
HAITI
DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC
ST KITTS AND NEVIS ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
MONTSERRAT GUADELOUPE
DOMINICA
MARTINIQUE
BARBADOS
ST VINCENT
GRENADA
ST LUCIA
ARUBA
TRINDAD AND TOBAGO
VENEZUELA
COLOMBIA
GUYANA
SURINAME
FRENCH GUIANA
BRAZIL
PERU
BOLIVIA
CHILE
PARAGUAY
URUGUAY
ARGENTINA
FALKLAND ISLANDS (UK)
SOUTH GEORGIA (UK)
PUERTO RICO
(USA)
BERMUDA
CAYMAN
ISLANDS
ANQUILLA
ST MAARTENVIRGIN ISLANDS, US
CURACAO
NO
DATA
<4950–5960–6970–7980–100
INDEX SCORE
UNSTABLESTABLE
POLITICAL RISK IN 2016
Drawing on data and insight
from BMI Research, Marsh’s
Political Risk Map 2016
provides country risk scores
for more than 200 countries
and territories. The overall
risk scores are based on three
categories of risk — political,
economic, and operational —
and reflect both short- and
long-term threats to stability.
For more detail on individual
country results, explore our
interactive Political Risk
Map 2016 on marsh.com.
INSIGHTS January 2016
Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016  6
ICELAND
SVALBARD
(NORWAY)
SWEDEN
FINLAND
RUSSIA
KAZAKHSTAN
UZBEKISTAN
TAJIKISTAN
KYRGYZSTAN
TURKMENISTAN
AFGHANISTAN
PAKISTAN
NEPAL
BHUTAN
BANGLADESH
MYANMAR
(BURMA)
LAOS
THAILAND
VIETNAM
BRUNEI
TAIWAN
HONG KONG
MACAU
CAMBODIA
PHILIPPINES
GUAM (USA)
TIMOR-LESTE
MALAYSIA
SINGAPORE
INDONESIA PAPUA NEW GUINEA
AUSTRALIA
NEW ZEALAND
NEW CALEDONIA (FRANCE)
VANUATU
FIJI
SOLOMON ISLANDS
SAMOA
SRI LANKA
ANDAMAN AND
NICOBAR ISLANDS
(INDIA)
INDIA
MONGOLIA
JAPAN
NORTH KOREA
SOUTH KOREA
CHINA
NORWAY
ESTONIA
LATVIA
LITHUANIA
KALININGRAD (RU)
BELARUS
DENMARK
GERMANY
NETHERLANDS
UNITED
KINGDOM
IRELAND
BELGIUM
LUXEMBOURG
POLAND
SLOVAKIA
UKRAINE
MOLDOVAHUNGARY
AUSTRIA
LIECHTENSTEIN
FRANCE
SLOVENIA
CROATIA
ITALY
SERBIA
KOSOVO
BULGARIA
MACEDONIA
ALBANIA
MONTENEGRO
GREECE TURKEY
SYRIA
AZERBAIJANARMENIA
GEORGIA
EGYPT
LIBYA
CHAD
SUDAN
SOUTH SUDAN
ETHIOPIA
SOMALIA
KENYA
UGANDA
RWANDA
BURUNDI
TANZANIA
MOZAMBIQUE
COMOROS
SEYCHELLES
MAYOTTE (FRANCE)
MADAGASCAR
MAURITIUS
REUNION (FRANCE)
KERGUELEN ISLANDS (FRANCE)
HEARD ISLAND (AUSTRALIA)
MALAWI
ZIMBABWE
NAMIBIA BOTSWANA
SWAZILAND
LESOTHO
SOUTH AFRICA
CENTRAL AFRICAN
REPUBLIC
IRAQ
JORDAN
ISRAEL
WEST BANKGAZA
CYPRUS
LEBANON
IRAN
SAUDI ARABIA
ERITREA YEMEN
DJIBOUTI
OMAN
UNITED
ARAB EMIRATES
QATAR
BAHRAIN
KUWAIT
MALTA
TUNISIAMOROCCO
ALGERIA
MALIMAURITANIA
SENEGAL
THE GAMBIA
GUINEA-BISSAU
GUINEA
SIERRA
LEONE
LIBERIA
COTE
D’IVOIRE
GHANA
TOGO
BENIN
BURKINA FASO
NIGER
NIGERIA
CAMEROON
BIOKO (EQUATORIAL GUINEA)
EQUATORIAL GUINEA
SAO TOME
AND PRINCIPE
CONGO
GABON
ANGOLA
ZAMBIA
CABINDA (ANGOLA)
DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC
OF THE CONGO
MADEIRA
(PORTUGAL)
CANARY ISLANDS
(SPAIN)
WESTERN
SAHARA
SPAINPORTUGAL
BOSNIA
AND HERZ.
CZECH REP.
FAROE ISLANDS
(DENMARK)
ROMANIA
SWITZERLAND
ISLE OF MAN
TONGA
TUVALU
MALDIVES
INSIGHTS January 2016
7  marsh.com
FALLING COMMODITY PRICES
Oil prices dropped precipitously in
the second half of 2014. Although
prices rebounded somewhat in
the first half of 2015, they have
since fallen even lower. From a
recent high of USD 112 per barrel
in June 2014, prices for Brent
crude oil fell to USD 38 per barrel
in December 2015, the lowest
price since July 2004, according
to the US Energy Information
Administration (see Figure 2).
BMI forecasts an average price
for Brent crude oil of USD 42.50
per barrel in 2016, which will
continue to have negative
effects on the economies of
oil-exporting countries, adding
to their political risks. Those
at highest risk include Angola,
Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial
Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, and
Venezuela. Low oil prices could also
increase political risk in Russia.
“Many net oil exporters already
faced significant political risks
before the drop in oil prices,
which could be exacerbated if
prices remain low,” Mr. Sano
said. “In Venezuela, for example,
voter dissatisfaction with the
poor economy and high inflation
contributed to the opposition party’s
victory in December’s legislative
elections. That could lead to a move
away from the statist system in the
long run, but the near-term impact
is greater political risk stemming
from internal political clashes. Low
oil prices and economic sanctions
could keep the Russian economy
weak, although political change
FIGURE 2 	 Brent Crude Oil Spot Prices 2014 to 2015 (USD per Barrel)
Source: US Energy Information Administration
JAN
$108
JAN
$48
FEB
$109
FEB
$58
MAR
$107
MAR
$56
APR
$108
APR
$60
MAY
$110
MAY
$64
JUN
$112
JUN
$61
JUL
$107
JUL
$57
AUG
$102
AUG
$47
SEP
$97
SEP
$48
OCT
$87
OCT
$48
NOV
$79
NOV
$44
DEC
$62
DEC
$38
2014 2015
INSIGHTS January 2016
Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016  8
is unlikely as President Putin
remains a popular figure.”
Beyond oil, prices for a number of
other agricultural commodities,
livestock, and precious and
industrial metals have fallen since
early 2014. For example:
ȫȫ Prices for cotton, which had
sold for more than USD 90 per
pound in March 2014, fell to
below USD 65 per pound in
December 2015.
ȫȫ Gold, which had sold for more
than USD 1,300 per ounce in
June 2014, fell to below USD 1,100
per ounce in December 2015.
ȫȫ Copper prices fell from more than
USD 3.20 per pound in June 2014
to just over USD 2 per pound
in December 2015.
The global decline in many
commodity prices has been
attributed in part to the economic
slowdown in China, which no longer
has the same voracious appetite
for materials imported from Latin
America, Africa, and elsewhere.
Coupled with rising interest rates
and the slump of currencies against
the US dollar, these falling prices
portend an increase in political risk
in many emerging markets whose
economies rely on commodities
exports, such as Brazil. The drop
in prices could also have lasting
economic effects on resource-rich
developed economies, including
Canada and Australia.
SUCCESSION RISKS
According to BMI, more than 20
countries have aging, longstanding
leaders but no clear plans or
frameworks for the transition of
power. When such leaders have
died or resigned in the past —
for example, in Indonesia, Iraq,
Libya, Yugoslavia, and Zaire — the
result has often been civil war or
substantial political unrest and
violence. Among the countries that
could experience similar turmoil
in the next few years are Angola,
Cameroon, Cuba, Equatorial
Guinea, Iran, Kazakhstan,
Oman, Saudi Arabia, Thailand,
Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe.
CENTRALIZATION VS.
FEDERALIZATION
The 2014 referendum on Scottish
independence and subsequent
pledge by the UK’s ruling
Conservative party to grant new
powers to the Scottish Parliament
is one example of the pressures
that governments across the world
face to devolve more power to
their regions. Similar pressures
have been seen in:
ȫȫ The separatist conflict in
Eastern Ukraine.
ȫȫ India, where a popular movement
led to the division of Andhra
Pradesh into two separate
states (Andhra Pradesh and
Telangana) in 2014.
ȫȫ The Houthi rebellion and
Southern separatism in Yemen.
ȫȫ A referendum on the
independence of Catalonia,
which was blocked by the
Spanish government.
ȫȫ Hong Kong, where political
protesters have sought
greater autonomy from the
Chinese government.
As falling oil
prices and other
factors continue
to put pressure on
several countries’
economies, it’s
critical for businesses
to be prepared
for the possibility
that political
violence, unrest, or
other large-scale
crises will quickly
develop in virtually
any part of the
world — including
those countries that
were historically seen
as safe or stable.
INSIGHTS January 2016
9  marsh.com
“We expect the debate between
centralization and federalization
to continue, although we do not
expect to see many new sovereign
states formed in the next five years,”
Mr. Sano said. “Rather than seeking
outright independence, many
separatists are likely to settle for
greater autonomy, as appears to be
the case in Scotland.”
RIVALRIES AMONG
“GREAT POWERS”
In 2016, we will likely see continuing
tensions among the world’s three
“great powers” — the United States,
Russia, and China — and between
these countries and various regional
powers. In 2016, tensions could
continue to build between:
ȫȫ China and Japan in the East China
Sea, and China and the US in the
South China Sea, stemming from
China’s assertion of territorial
rights and construction of
artificial islands and airstrips.
ȫȫ North Korea and South Korea,
especially after the North’s
announcement in early January
of a successful nuclear bomb test.
Should a conflict develop between
the two countries, it could easily
draw in the US, China, and Japan,
all of which have strong interests
in the security and stability
of the Korean Peninsula.
ȫȫ Russia and the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization in the Baltic
states or Eastern Mediterranean,
as NATO extends membership
invitations to more countries (the
most recent being Montenegro).
ȫȫ Russia and Turkey, exacerbated by
the latter’s downing of a Russian
military jet in November 2015
near Syria’s border with Turkey.
“Both China and Russia appear
intent on flexing their muscles
and playing a greater role in
the politics of many regions, as
evidenced by China’s plan to build
a military base in Djibouti, in the
Horn of Africa,” Mr. Sano said.
“We expect that rivalries between
both the great powers and regional
powers like Turkey will continue
to develop, including some direct
confrontations and proxy wars
in the coming years.”
MANAGING
POLITICAL RISK
As we were reminded by recent
events in Paris and elsewhere,
terrorist and politically motivated
attacks often occur without warning.
And as falling oil prices and other
factors continue to put pressure on
several countries’ economies, it’s
critical for businesses to be prepared
for the possibility that political
violence, unrest, or other large-
scale crises will quickly develop in
virtually any part of the world —
including those countries that were
historically seen as safe or stable.
Businesses can prepare for these
risks in several ways:
ȫȫ Manage credit risk. When
a government collapses or
descends into crisis, it often
loses its ability to honor financial
obligations. This can create a
chain reaction of default that
spreads into the private sector.
Businesses should review their
credit risks and credit-control
policies and procedures, and
evaluate the potential impact of
political risk on the countries
in which they, their customers,
and suppliers operate.
ȫȫ Build resilient supply chains.
Before a crisis develops, an
organization should understand
how a crisis in one country
can disrupt its global supply
chain. Businesses should also
have response plans in place to
allow for the use of alternative
suppliers and/or ports, and to
communicate with customers and
suppliers as needed.
ȫȫ Protect people. Developing and
testing crisis plans in advance
can help ensure effective
communication during and
immediately following a crisis.
ȫȫ Protect assets through
insurance. Credit and political
risk insurance can protect against
a variety of risks, including
expropriation, political violence,
currency inconvertibility, non-
payment, and contract frustration.
INSIGHTS January 2016
Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016  10
About BMI Research
Specializing in emerging and frontier markets, BMI Research (BMI) covers
macroeconomics, financial markets, political risk, and 24 industry verticals across
200 global markets. For more than 30 years, our unique approach and insights have
been used by multinationals, governments, and financial institutions to guide their
strategic, tactical, and investment decisions. BMI clients span more than 160 countries
and include more than half the Global Fortune 500 companies. With offices in London,
New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, and South Africa, BMI is part of Fitch Group, a
global leader in financial information services.
About Marsh
Marsh is a global leader in insurance broking and risk management. Marsh helps clients
succeed by defining, designing, and delivering innovative industry-specific solutions
that help them effectively manage risk. Marsh’s approximately 27,000 colleagues work
together to serve clients in more than 130 countries. Marsh is a wholly owned subsidiary
of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a global professional services firm
offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy, and people. With 57,000
colleagues worldwide and annual revenue exceeding US$13 billion, Marsh & McLennan
Companies is also the parent company of Guy Carpenter, a leader in providing risk
and reinsurance intermediary services; Mercer, a leader in talent, health, retirement,
and investment consulting; and Oliver Wyman, a leader in management consulting.
Follow Marsh on Twitter @MarshGlobal, or on LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.
MARSH IS ONE OF THE MARSH & McLENNAN COMPANIES, TOGETHER WITH GUY CARPENTER, MERCER, AND OLIVER WYMAN.
This document and any recommendations, analysis, or advice provided by Marsh (collectively, the “Marsh Analysis”) are not intended to be taken as advice
regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. The information contained herein is based on sources we believe reliable, but we
make no representation or warranty as to its accuracy. Marsh shall have no obligation to update the Marsh Analysis and shall have no liability to you or any
other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting, or legal matters are based
solely on our experience as insurance brokers and risk consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, tax, accounting, or legal advice, for which you
should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling, analytics, or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty, and the Marsh Analysis could
be materially affected if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information, or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change. Marsh makes no
representation or warranty concerning the application of policy wording or the financial condition or solvency of insurers or reinsurers. Marsh makes no
assurances regarding the availability, cost, or terms of insurance coverage. Although Marsh may provide advice and recommendations, all decisions regarding
the amount, type or terms of coverage are the ultimate responsibility of the insurance purchaser, who must decide on the specific coverage that is appropriate
to its particular circumstances and financial position.
Copyright © 2016 Marsh LLC. All rights reserved. Compliance MA16-13837 19172
For more information, please visit marsh.com or contact:
EVAN FREELY
Global Practice Leader Credit Specialties
+1 212 345 3780
evan.freely@marsh.com
STEPHEN KAY
US Leader Credit & Political Risk Practice
+1 212 345 0923
stephen.kay@marsh.com
JULIAN MACEY-DARE
International Leader Credit & Political Risk Practice
+44 (0) 20 7357 2451
julian.macey-dare@marsh.com

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Political risk map 01 2016

  • 1. INSIGHTS January 2016 Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016
  • 2. INSIGHTS January 2016 1  marsh.com INTRODUCTION In the last decade, multinational organizations have undertaken unprecedented international expansion, leaving them exposed to global credit and political risks like never before. And those risks — including terrorism and political violence, armed conflicts, increasingly powerful anti-establishment political movements, and persistently low commodity prices — continue to grow. Multinational risk professionals must now be prepared for virtually any type of political or economic risk threat in both developed and emerging markets. Drawing on data and insight from BMI Research, a leading source of independent political, macroeconomic, financial, and industry risk analysis, Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016 presents a global view of issues facing multinational organizations and investors. Accounting for in-country political, economic, and operational risks, the map presents overall country risk scores for more than 200 countries and territories, helping businesses and investors make smarter decisions about where and how to deploy financial resources — including risk capital — globally in 2016 and beyond. The following are key findings from BMI and Marsh regarding the major political risks that organizations and investors will face in the coming year. We also invite you to explore an interactive version of our Political Risk Map 2016 on marsh.com.
  • 3. INSIGHTS January 2016 Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016  2 TERRORISM Attacks in 2015 have led to a renewed focus by world powers on combating terrorism. Of greatest concern is the Islamic State, which remains powerful in Iraq and Syria and is expanding its presence throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The “war on terror,” which began in earnest after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, is likely to continue for at least another decade, according to BMI. “The United States and Russia have learned lessons in the past about the difficulty of fighting ground wars for extended periods of time in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and neither country appears willing to risk repeating those earlier experiences,” said Yoel Sano, BMI’s head of Global Political and Security Risk. “That means the most likely response from these and other governments will be an air campaign, which may not be enough to defeat the Islamic State.” In addition to their role in prolonging instability in the Middle East, the risk of terrorist attacks will persist in North American, European, and Asian countries, even as they introduce stronger security measures. The threat of terrorism has also increased concerns in Western countries about immigration policy, and has proven to be a boon for right-wing political parties in Europe. CONFLICTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA The November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris have prompted Western countries to intensify airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria. France, for example, deployed its flagship aircraft carrier to the region to participate in the airstrikes. However, the Syrian civil war, which began in early 2011 amid the larger Arab Spring movement, continues in 2016. It has essentially become a proxy war between global and regional powers, with Russia and Iran fighting on the side of the Syrian government, and the United States, United Kingdom, France, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia among the leading supporters of the opposition. The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey has put severe strains on government services in these countries and has jeopardized their security. Meanwhile, although Iraqi forces recaptured the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State at the end of 2015, the bigger challenge will be to regain Iraq’s second- largest city, Mosul, from the group. Even if that happens, however, much of Iraq’s Sunni minority is likely to remain highly distrustful of the Shi’a-dominated Iraqi government. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s control over paramilitary forces also remains limited by strong political opposition to his anti-corruption campaign and other policies. Elsewhere in the region, deteriorating relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia — which severed diplomatic ties at the start of 2016 — will exacerbate Shi’a-Sunni divisions in the Middle East. The “war on terror,” which began in earnest after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, is likely to continue for at least another decade, according to BMI.
  • 4. INSIGHTS January 2016 3  marsh.com EMERGING ECONOMIES STRUGGLE China continues to struggle as the country’s economy shifts its focus from investment to consumption. In the third quarter of 2015, real GDP growth in China fell to 6.9% year over year, the slowest growth since the first quarter of 2009. Economic reforms, a weak real estate market, over-leveraging of corporate entities, and rising wages — which will eliminate a significant competitive advantage for Chinese manufacturers — will likely continue to limit growth in the next several years. In 2016, BMI forecasts real GDP growth of 6.3% (see Figure 1). China’s slowdown is emblematic of the broader struggles of emerging markets globally. In Brazil, fixed investment and household consumption remain weak, driven by rising job losses, high inflation and interest rates, and a prolonged investigation into alleged corruption at Petrobras; BMI forecasts GDP contraction of 4.4% in 2016. Meanwhile, investment growth in Russia has been minimal since 2012, and the deep recession in 2015 only exacerbated the problem for the Russian economy. Consumption will likely recover slowly in 2016, but inflation will stay high and nominal wage growth will remain subdued. BMI forecasts real GDP growth of 0.5% in 2016. A bright spot among emerging economies is India, for which BMI forecasts real GDP growth of 7.2% in 2016. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s business-friendly government has launched several initiatives designed to boost economic investment, including by foreign entities, and to stabilize the Indian rupee. Industrial production is also expected to increase as many companies have announced plans to build factories in India in 2016. 2016 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION Although foreign relations and defense policy were already areas of focus in the run-up to the US presidential election, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, intensified political rhetoric and brought these topics to the forefront. With polls showing national security to be a FIGURE 1 GDP Growth in Brazil, Russia, India, and China, 2010 to 2016 Source: BMI Research CHINA INDIA BRAZIL RUSSIA 2010 -6% 0% 6% 12% 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015* 2016* *PROJECTED
  • 5. INSIGHTS January 2016 Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016  4 major concern for voters, foreign policy will remain a key theme on the campaign trail in 2016 — and will be top of mind for the next presidential administration. “Presidential candidates in both major political parties have criticized what they regard as the Obama administration’s ‘aloof’ approach to foreign policy, which they see as contributing to China’s assertive stance in the East and South China Seas, Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, and Islamic State’s growth in Iraq and Syria,” Mr. Sano said. “Regardless of the election outcome, the next president is likely to take a more interventionist approach following the 2016 election.” ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT PARTIES IN EUROPE Terrorism, the migrant crisis, austerity measures, and other economic factors have contributed to the rise of anti-establishment parties in Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, and other countries. In most cases, these parties do not appear likely to win power through elections, but they could influence rhetoric and public policy as members of ruling coalitions with other parties. Many anti- establishment parties — particularly on the far right — have espoused tougher stances on immigration and defense amid the migrant crisis and following the attacks in Paris. Their growing power is likely to continue to test the European Union’s principle allowing for the free movement of workers. CRITICAL TESTS FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION The ongoing migrant crisis — stemming from conflicts and poor living conditions in Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere — will be a major test for the European Union. Under the Schengen Agreement, which took effect in 1995, free movement — without border checks — is legal across the vast majority of the EU. All but two EU members — the UK and Ireland — participate in the Schengen Agreement or are obliged to do so in the future; non-EU members Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland also participate. But as several countries have struggled with the rapid entry of migrants into their territories, the future of the Schengen Area is now in question. In 2015, passport checks were introduced along the borders between Austria and Germany, Sweden and Denmark, and Sweden and Germany. As public anti-immigration sentiment grows in many EU nations, more divisions between member states are likely to develop in 2016, unless there is a coordinated EU-wide response. Meanwhile, questions about the future of the EU itself have been raised as the referendum on the UK’s EU membership approaches. The so-called “Brexit” (British exit) referendum is expected to occur in 2016; BMI estimates the likelihood of the UK exiting the EU at 35%, although this could change. To date, the UK’s Conservative government has remained neutral on the issue as it negotiates with the EU on several matters, most notably limiting immigration into the UK and curtailing benefits for EU nationals working in the UK. The outcome of these negotiations could determine whether the government campaigns in favor of or against a UK exit, which would significantly affect the referendum results. A presidential election in France and federal elections in Germany — both scheduled for 2017 — could also help shape the future of the EU. Economic reforms, a weak real estate market, over- leveraging of corporate entities, and rising wages will likely continue to limit growth in China in the next several years.
  • 6. INSIGHTS January 2016 5  marsh.com ALASKA (USA) CANADA GREENLAND (DENMARK) CAPE VERDE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA MEXICO THE BAHAMAS CUBA BELIZE GUATEMALA EL SALVADOR HAWAII (USA) KIRIBATI HONDURAS NICARAGUA COSTA RICA PANAMA ECUADOR GALAPAGOS ISLANDS (ECUADOR) JAMAICA HAITI DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ST KITTS AND NEVIS ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA MONTSERRAT GUADELOUPE DOMINICA MARTINIQUE BARBADOS ST VINCENT GRENADA ST LUCIA ARUBA TRINDAD AND TOBAGO VENEZUELA COLOMBIA GUYANA SURINAME FRENCH GUIANA BRAZIL PERU BOLIVIA CHILE PARAGUAY URUGUAY ARGENTINA FALKLAND ISLANDS (UK) SOUTH GEORGIA (UK) PUERTO RICO (USA) BERMUDA CAYMAN ISLANDS ANQUILLA ST MAARTENVIRGIN ISLANDS, US CURACAO NO DATA <4950–5960–6970–7980–100 INDEX SCORE UNSTABLESTABLE POLITICAL RISK IN 2016 Drawing on data and insight from BMI Research, Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016 provides country risk scores for more than 200 countries and territories. The overall risk scores are based on three categories of risk — political, economic, and operational — and reflect both short- and long-term threats to stability. For more detail on individual country results, explore our interactive Political Risk Map 2016 on marsh.com.
  • 7. INSIGHTS January 2016 Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016  6 ICELAND SVALBARD (NORWAY) SWEDEN FINLAND RUSSIA KAZAKHSTAN UZBEKISTAN TAJIKISTAN KYRGYZSTAN TURKMENISTAN AFGHANISTAN PAKISTAN NEPAL BHUTAN BANGLADESH MYANMAR (BURMA) LAOS THAILAND VIETNAM BRUNEI TAIWAN HONG KONG MACAU CAMBODIA PHILIPPINES GUAM (USA) TIMOR-LESTE MALAYSIA SINGAPORE INDONESIA PAPUA NEW GUINEA AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND NEW CALEDONIA (FRANCE) VANUATU FIJI SOLOMON ISLANDS SAMOA SRI LANKA ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS (INDIA) INDIA MONGOLIA JAPAN NORTH KOREA SOUTH KOREA CHINA NORWAY ESTONIA LATVIA LITHUANIA KALININGRAD (RU) BELARUS DENMARK GERMANY NETHERLANDS UNITED KINGDOM IRELAND BELGIUM LUXEMBOURG POLAND SLOVAKIA UKRAINE MOLDOVAHUNGARY AUSTRIA LIECHTENSTEIN FRANCE SLOVENIA CROATIA ITALY SERBIA KOSOVO BULGARIA MACEDONIA ALBANIA MONTENEGRO GREECE TURKEY SYRIA AZERBAIJANARMENIA GEORGIA EGYPT LIBYA CHAD SUDAN SOUTH SUDAN ETHIOPIA SOMALIA KENYA UGANDA RWANDA BURUNDI TANZANIA MOZAMBIQUE COMOROS SEYCHELLES MAYOTTE (FRANCE) MADAGASCAR MAURITIUS REUNION (FRANCE) KERGUELEN ISLANDS (FRANCE) HEARD ISLAND (AUSTRALIA) MALAWI ZIMBABWE NAMIBIA BOTSWANA SWAZILAND LESOTHO SOUTH AFRICA CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC IRAQ JORDAN ISRAEL WEST BANKGAZA CYPRUS LEBANON IRAN SAUDI ARABIA ERITREA YEMEN DJIBOUTI OMAN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES QATAR BAHRAIN KUWAIT MALTA TUNISIAMOROCCO ALGERIA MALIMAURITANIA SENEGAL THE GAMBIA GUINEA-BISSAU GUINEA SIERRA LEONE LIBERIA COTE D’IVOIRE GHANA TOGO BENIN BURKINA FASO NIGER NIGERIA CAMEROON BIOKO (EQUATORIAL GUINEA) EQUATORIAL GUINEA SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE CONGO GABON ANGOLA ZAMBIA CABINDA (ANGOLA) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO MADEIRA (PORTUGAL) CANARY ISLANDS (SPAIN) WESTERN SAHARA SPAINPORTUGAL BOSNIA AND HERZ. CZECH REP. FAROE ISLANDS (DENMARK) ROMANIA SWITZERLAND ISLE OF MAN TONGA TUVALU MALDIVES
  • 8. INSIGHTS January 2016 7  marsh.com FALLING COMMODITY PRICES Oil prices dropped precipitously in the second half of 2014. Although prices rebounded somewhat in the first half of 2015, they have since fallen even lower. From a recent high of USD 112 per barrel in June 2014, prices for Brent crude oil fell to USD 38 per barrel in December 2015, the lowest price since July 2004, according to the US Energy Information Administration (see Figure 2). BMI forecasts an average price for Brent crude oil of USD 42.50 per barrel in 2016, which will continue to have negative effects on the economies of oil-exporting countries, adding to their political risks. Those at highest risk include Angola, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, and Venezuela. Low oil prices could also increase political risk in Russia. “Many net oil exporters already faced significant political risks before the drop in oil prices, which could be exacerbated if prices remain low,” Mr. Sano said. “In Venezuela, for example, voter dissatisfaction with the poor economy and high inflation contributed to the opposition party’s victory in December’s legislative elections. That could lead to a move away from the statist system in the long run, but the near-term impact is greater political risk stemming from internal political clashes. Low oil prices and economic sanctions could keep the Russian economy weak, although political change FIGURE 2 Brent Crude Oil Spot Prices 2014 to 2015 (USD per Barrel) Source: US Energy Information Administration JAN $108 JAN $48 FEB $109 FEB $58 MAR $107 MAR $56 APR $108 APR $60 MAY $110 MAY $64 JUN $112 JUN $61 JUL $107 JUL $57 AUG $102 AUG $47 SEP $97 SEP $48 OCT $87 OCT $48 NOV $79 NOV $44 DEC $62 DEC $38 2014 2015
  • 9. INSIGHTS January 2016 Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016  8 is unlikely as President Putin remains a popular figure.” Beyond oil, prices for a number of other agricultural commodities, livestock, and precious and industrial metals have fallen since early 2014. For example: ȫȫ Prices for cotton, which had sold for more than USD 90 per pound in March 2014, fell to below USD 65 per pound in December 2015. ȫȫ Gold, which had sold for more than USD 1,300 per ounce in June 2014, fell to below USD 1,100 per ounce in December 2015. ȫȫ Copper prices fell from more than USD 3.20 per pound in June 2014 to just over USD 2 per pound in December 2015. The global decline in many commodity prices has been attributed in part to the economic slowdown in China, which no longer has the same voracious appetite for materials imported from Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere. Coupled with rising interest rates and the slump of currencies against the US dollar, these falling prices portend an increase in political risk in many emerging markets whose economies rely on commodities exports, such as Brazil. The drop in prices could also have lasting economic effects on resource-rich developed economies, including Canada and Australia. SUCCESSION RISKS According to BMI, more than 20 countries have aging, longstanding leaders but no clear plans or frameworks for the transition of power. When such leaders have died or resigned in the past — for example, in Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, and Zaire — the result has often been civil war or substantial political unrest and violence. Among the countries that could experience similar turmoil in the next few years are Angola, Cameroon, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Kazakhstan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe. CENTRALIZATION VS. FEDERALIZATION The 2014 referendum on Scottish independence and subsequent pledge by the UK’s ruling Conservative party to grant new powers to the Scottish Parliament is one example of the pressures that governments across the world face to devolve more power to their regions. Similar pressures have been seen in: ȫȫ The separatist conflict in Eastern Ukraine. ȫȫ India, where a popular movement led to the division of Andhra Pradesh into two separate states (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) in 2014. ȫȫ The Houthi rebellion and Southern separatism in Yemen. ȫȫ A referendum on the independence of Catalonia, which was blocked by the Spanish government. ȫȫ Hong Kong, where political protesters have sought greater autonomy from the Chinese government. As falling oil prices and other factors continue to put pressure on several countries’ economies, it’s critical for businesses to be prepared for the possibility that political violence, unrest, or other large-scale crises will quickly develop in virtually any part of the world — including those countries that were historically seen as safe or stable.
  • 10. INSIGHTS January 2016 9  marsh.com “We expect the debate between centralization and federalization to continue, although we do not expect to see many new sovereign states formed in the next five years,” Mr. Sano said. “Rather than seeking outright independence, many separatists are likely to settle for greater autonomy, as appears to be the case in Scotland.” RIVALRIES AMONG “GREAT POWERS” In 2016, we will likely see continuing tensions among the world’s three “great powers” — the United States, Russia, and China — and between these countries and various regional powers. In 2016, tensions could continue to build between: ȫȫ China and Japan in the East China Sea, and China and the US in the South China Sea, stemming from China’s assertion of territorial rights and construction of artificial islands and airstrips. ȫȫ North Korea and South Korea, especially after the North’s announcement in early January of a successful nuclear bomb test. Should a conflict develop between the two countries, it could easily draw in the US, China, and Japan, all of which have strong interests in the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula. ȫȫ Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the Baltic states or Eastern Mediterranean, as NATO extends membership invitations to more countries (the most recent being Montenegro). ȫȫ Russia and Turkey, exacerbated by the latter’s downing of a Russian military jet in November 2015 near Syria’s border with Turkey. “Both China and Russia appear intent on flexing their muscles and playing a greater role in the politics of many regions, as evidenced by China’s plan to build a military base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa,” Mr. Sano said. “We expect that rivalries between both the great powers and regional powers like Turkey will continue to develop, including some direct confrontations and proxy wars in the coming years.” MANAGING POLITICAL RISK As we were reminded by recent events in Paris and elsewhere, terrorist and politically motivated attacks often occur without warning. And as falling oil prices and other factors continue to put pressure on several countries’ economies, it’s critical for businesses to be prepared for the possibility that political violence, unrest, or other large- scale crises will quickly develop in virtually any part of the world — including those countries that were historically seen as safe or stable. Businesses can prepare for these risks in several ways: ȫȫ Manage credit risk. When a government collapses or descends into crisis, it often loses its ability to honor financial obligations. This can create a chain reaction of default that spreads into the private sector. Businesses should review their credit risks and credit-control policies and procedures, and evaluate the potential impact of political risk on the countries in which they, their customers, and suppliers operate. ȫȫ Build resilient supply chains. Before a crisis develops, an organization should understand how a crisis in one country can disrupt its global supply chain. Businesses should also have response plans in place to allow for the use of alternative suppliers and/or ports, and to communicate with customers and suppliers as needed. ȫȫ Protect people. Developing and testing crisis plans in advance can help ensure effective communication during and immediately following a crisis. ȫȫ Protect assets through insurance. Credit and political risk insurance can protect against a variety of risks, including expropriation, political violence, currency inconvertibility, non- payment, and contract frustration.
  • 11. INSIGHTS January 2016 Geopolitical Threats for the Year Ahead: Marsh’s Political Risk Map 2016  10 About BMI Research Specializing in emerging and frontier markets, BMI Research (BMI) covers macroeconomics, financial markets, political risk, and 24 industry verticals across 200 global markets. For more than 30 years, our unique approach and insights have been used by multinationals, governments, and financial institutions to guide their strategic, tactical, and investment decisions. BMI clients span more than 160 countries and include more than half the Global Fortune 500 companies. With offices in London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, and South Africa, BMI is part of Fitch Group, a global leader in financial information services. About Marsh Marsh is a global leader in insurance broking and risk management. Marsh helps clients succeed by defining, designing, and delivering innovative industry-specific solutions that help them effectively manage risk. Marsh’s approximately 27,000 colleagues work together to serve clients in more than 130 countries. Marsh is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a global professional services firm offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy, and people. With 57,000 colleagues worldwide and annual revenue exceeding US$13 billion, Marsh & McLennan Companies is also the parent company of Guy Carpenter, a leader in providing risk and reinsurance intermediary services; Mercer, a leader in talent, health, retirement, and investment consulting; and Oliver Wyman, a leader in management consulting. Follow Marsh on Twitter @MarshGlobal, or on LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.
  • 12. MARSH IS ONE OF THE MARSH & McLENNAN COMPANIES, TOGETHER WITH GUY CARPENTER, MERCER, AND OLIVER WYMAN. This document and any recommendations, analysis, or advice provided by Marsh (collectively, the “Marsh Analysis”) are not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. The information contained herein is based on sources we believe reliable, but we make no representation or warranty as to its accuracy. Marsh shall have no obligation to update the Marsh Analysis and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting, or legal matters are based solely on our experience as insurance brokers and risk consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, tax, accounting, or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling, analytics, or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty, and the Marsh Analysis could be materially affected if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information, or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change. Marsh makes no representation or warranty concerning the application of policy wording or the financial condition or solvency of insurers or reinsurers. Marsh makes no assurances regarding the availability, cost, or terms of insurance coverage. Although Marsh may provide advice and recommendations, all decisions regarding the amount, type or terms of coverage are the ultimate responsibility of the insurance purchaser, who must decide on the specific coverage that is appropriate to its particular circumstances and financial position. Copyright © 2016 Marsh LLC. All rights reserved. Compliance MA16-13837 19172 For more information, please visit marsh.com or contact: EVAN FREELY Global Practice Leader Credit Specialties +1 212 345 3780 evan.freely@marsh.com STEPHEN KAY US Leader Credit & Political Risk Practice +1 212 345 0923 stephen.kay@marsh.com JULIAN MACEY-DARE International Leader Credit & Political Risk Practice +44 (0) 20 7357 2451 julian.macey-dare@marsh.com