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28/02/22

Country Risk conference: Coface “had” a relatively optimistic scenario

Thursday 24 February at the Café de Paris, the new Chief Economist at Coface, Jean-Christophe Caffet, outlined the major global trends at a talk organised in partnership with Gramaglia and Banque Populaire Méditerranée. It proved a riskier than expected undertaking given the Russia-Ukraine news early that morning which the economist brilliantly picked up on.

 

“I have the daunting task of presenting a script that until 04:59 this morning was current”, he began. And indeed it was not easy for Jean-Christophe Caffet to talk about forecasts shattered following the sudden escalation of events in Ukraine.

 

However, while some conclusions of studies carried out by Coface may be called into question, his analyses of the way the situation has evolved over the last few months offered valuable indicators and insights to aid understanding.

 

For the economist, the scenario had predicted a “return to reality” for the economy with global GDP up +4% after the -3.5% drop in 2020 and strong +5.5% recovery in 2021.

 

This was a positive development notably in advanced economies, and while the disparity in situations was much greater among developing countries it was overall less favourable. It varied widely according to industry sectors.

 

It being a major player in the global economy, Jean-Christophe Caffet then turned his attention to China about which he expressed some concerns: a country where domestic consumption, hampered by a real estate bubble, is unable to offset any return to reality of exports, combined with a not-insignificant demographic problem.

 

Another hot topic was inflation which Coface views as a situation “if not transitory, probably persistent but not yet permanent”, with the exception of USA where the risk appeared higher. A reassuring forecast - due in the main to lower energy prices and improved supply chains - which, as Mr Caffet noted with a wry smile, “is screwed”.

 

At the end of his speech in the Q&A session on countries to favour in this turbulent period, the chief economist again highlighted advanced economies, including Europe which in his opinion “seems to have adopted the imperative measure to pool their efforts” and is not badly placed in terms of global competitiveness. But also Southeast Asia, where Vietnam and Indonesia in particular seem to be doing well, and more generally any country, developing or not, which have a lot of natural resources.

 

In the end, despite the many uncertainties generated by the Ukraine news, Jean-Christophe Caffet succeeded in delivering a fascinating and instructive macroeconomic inventory for his first visit to Monaco. That at least is good news!

 

 

Photo captions (credits: MEB / Carte Blanche)

  • Photo 1 and 2: Jean-Christophe Caffet, Chief Economist at Coface 
  • Photo 3 l-r: Laetitia Nahum, Financial Risk Insurance Manager at Gramaglia; Régis Etienne, Regional Director Banque Populaire Méditerranée; Michel Gramaglia, Manager of Gramaglia; Michel Dotta, MEB Chairman; Jean-Christophe Caffet, Chief Economist at Coface; Guillaume Rose, MEB Executive Director General.

 

 Press contacts: Benoît Ulrich / Delphine Quilichini - presse@meb.mc  +377 97 98 68 68

 

 

About Jean-Christophe Caffet

A graduate of the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP) and University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Jean-Christophe Caffet began his career in the banking sector in 2005. He spent nine years with the Natixis / BPCE Group as an economist specialising in France and the Euro zone.

In 2014, he joined the strategy and economic intelligence department of the TotalEnergies group as Deputy Chief Economist which enabled him to become an expert in energy markets while continuing to make macro-economic forecasts. In 2019, he became the group’s Chief Economist before joining Coface in 2021.

 

About COFACE

Coface is a reference in credit insurance and risk management. With over 75 years of experience as an industry leader, with a team of 4,450 experts supporting some 50,000 companies, Coface has its finger on the pulse of the global economy.

 

 

Sponsors of the talk:

 

Gramaglia: https://www.gramaglia.mc/fr/

 

Banque Populaire de Méditerranée: https://www.banquepopulaire.fr/mediterranee/

 

Click here to see the photo gallery of the event.