Deutsche Bank researchers claim there is at least a one-in-three chance at least one of four major tail-disasters will occur within the next decade. A major influenza pandemic killing more than two million people is one scenario.
For reference, the current coronavirus pandemic has already killed 443,765 globally.
An even more serious pandemic could be even more catastrophic
Other options include a globally-catastrophic volcanic eruption, a major solar flare, or a global war.
More worryingly still, the outlook is statistically even more dire when the time frame shifts to two decades.
The analysts announced there is then a 56 percent chance of one of these disasters occurring.
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The statistical study is based on various studies and risk assessments.
The researchers omitted earthquakes from the numbers because they are more local events.
The solar flare possibility is one rarely discussed as a possibility.
This is perhaps because the last severe event occurred in 1859.
But the Deutsche Bank study has calculated this to be more likely than a major global war.
The report’s authors write: “There could be major power outages as electrical power grids are disrupted, which in turn would have knock-on effects throughout the economy as critical infrastructure is unable to be run properly.
“Lives could be lost if it impacted hospitals and medical care.
“Communications would be disrupted, many payment systems would be dysfunctional.
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“And GPS [Global Positioning System] satellites would face extensive interference, to the detriment of all the individuals and industries that rely on accurate location services, not least aircraft.”
Studies have assessed the odds of a major solar flare occurring are 12 percent in a decade.
This means there is a 40 percent chance such a flare will occur in the next 40 years.
Another point made is these major events tend to have ripple effects as well.
This can be witnessed in the current crisis, which has caused tensions to fray ties between the US and China.
However, the past few months have proved as a reminder of how robust financial markets are in the face of global disasters.
The analysts did not suggest an investment strategy around their findings.
Deutsche Bank, who carried out the research on behalf of their clients, said: “Before COVID-19 occurred, Madhav et al. [in 2017] estimated there was an annual probability of two percent that an influenza pandemic will cause 2.2 million pneumonia and influenza deaths or more globally.
“Given that COVID-19 has led to severe recessions and lockdowns in numerous countries, an even more serious pandemic could be even more catastrophic.
“Consider that the relatively remote Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland shut down nearly all of European airspace in 2010, leading to extensive economic disruption.
“And further back in 1991, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines was so large it actually led to a reduction in global temperatures over the subsequent two years.”
“So an important question is what would happen if a much larger, more catastrophic eruption occurred, and how likely is this to happen.”
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