These are the five main threats facing the global economy in 2017

The WEF has outlined its primary concerns for the next 12 months...

These are the five main threats facing the global economy in 2017

People protest during a demonstration against education cuts in Barcelona, Spain / MANU FERNANDEZ AP/Press Association Images

The World Economic Forum's annual Global Risks report for 2017 has highlighted its primary economic concerns.

Its panel of over 700 expert contributors are most worried about these issues:

  • Unemployment or underemployment - A sustained high level of unemployment or underutilisation of the productive capacity of the employed population 
  • Energy price shock - Significant energy price increases or decreases that place further economic pressures on highly energy-dependent industries and consumers
  • Fiscal crises - Excessive debt burdens that generate sovereign debt crises and/or liquidity crises in key economies
  • Failure of national governance - Inability to govern a nation of geopolitical importance as a result of weak rule of law, corruption or political deadlock. 
  • Profound social instability - Major social movements or protests (e.g. street riots, social unrest, etc.) that disrupt political or social stability, negatively impacting populations and economic activity

"This [instability] points to the need for reviving economic growth, but the growing mood of anti-establishment populism suggests we may have passed the stage where this alone would remedy fractures in society: reforming market capitalism must also be added to the agenda," the report notes.

It also points to links between economic inequality and the rise of populist movements such as the 'Leave' side winning in the UK's EU membership vote and Donald Trump's victory in the US.

The report cites Sinn Fein's performance in Ireland's General Election as an example of "parties stressing national sovereignty and/or values" prospering across the EU.

The WEF says that unemployment or underemployment are often linked with globalisation - but it notes that advances in technology are likely to create disruption in the coming year (and years) which will add to this problem as fewer workers will be required.

It has previously estimated that 7.1 million jobs could be lost through these disruptions - while 2.1 million new highly specialised jobs will be created.