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Economic scenarios for the COVID-19 recovery

Guiding strategic, financial and operational decisions

Scenarios are stories about what the future may be like, created through a structured process to stretch thinking, challenge conventional wisdom, and drive better decisions. Scenarios are not predictions about what will happen. They are hypotheses about what could happen, designed to open our eyes to new opportunities or hidden risks.

We’re in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. In the face of such uncertainty, the best approach to guiding strategic, financial and operational decisions is to consider a series of scenarios – of plausible and relevant futures – to understand the signposts and transmission mechanisms which can guide decision making.

As governments begin to lift restrictions, it would be folly to think linearly about a switch from health to economy. The two are so intertwined that this interconnection is going to remain with us over the coming years. This is a mindset shift we need to make. Our recovery will thus be in ‘waves’ not an alphabet. Indeed, we may need to shift our thinking from a post-COVID world to a world where we learn to live with COVID. Such thinking means that we need to be prepared for and manage expectations that recovery may not be smooth or comfortable.

Each of the scenarios in this document posits a potential future state — including trends in epidemiology, society, technology and policy — leading to corresponding economic implications.

These economic scenarios are not predictions about what will happen; they are hypotheses about what could happen, designed to frame strategic decisions and planning discussions.

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