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Prolonged recession tops COVID risk perception survey

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Fear of a prolonged global recession has topped concerns in a World Economic Forum COVID-19 risk perception survey conducted in partnership with Marsh & McLennan and Zurich.

Bankruptcies and consolidation, the failure of industries to recover and supply chain disruptions have also been identified as key worries.

An increase in cyberattacks and data fraud has been nominated as a leading concern for companies by 50% of respondents, while a breakdown in IT infrastructure and networks is identified by around 30%.

The survey was conducted early last month and gathered responses from nearly 350 senior risk professionals on concerns for their companies and for the world over the next 18 months. Participants selected eight risks from a list of 31 and could also nominate other issues.

Economic fears dominated responses for both company and global impacts, while the list also included geopolitical, environmental, societal and technology issues.

Some 40% said another outbreak of COVID-19 or a different infectious disease was of greatest concern for the world.

Setbacks to climate action investment was identified by 18% of respondents as one of the most likely risk outcomes and 16% nominated it as one of the most concerning.

The World Economic Forum says the report aims to raise awareness and trigger timely debate as governments and businesses design post-lockdown measures.

“To ensure positive outcomes from this crisis, the immediate and longer-term emerging risks must be managed,” it says.