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Capitalizing On Megatrends Pictet

Amanda Cheesley

19 October 2023

A study by where. This is before a demolition has even begun, so this can greatly ease recycling and the potential recovery of value," the study said. 

Another example is resource-efficient agriculture. With the world’s population set to reach 10 billion by 2050, a 70 per cent growth in food production from 2007 levels is needed. "Precise farming equipment can enable an efficient use of land and minimize waste. Up to 30 per cent of food never reaches our plates. Food waste solutions will be in demand. One example is AI-driven sensors that determine when a fruit or vegetable is about to be wasted and should be repurposed, for example, into sauce or juice," the study continued. 

This news service has carried out a number of articles about how wealth managers are paying more attention to food production and its demands. Population pressures, wars supply chain disruptions have shaken up the space. See more here and here. Pictet has made such predictions about big trends before, such as here and here.

Bugs and fish
Insect farming also offers a solution to overfishing, deforestation and pesticide use, the report states. In nature, insects exist to consume waste – turning rotten fruit into soil, for instance. Fish farming now produces one in every two fish consumed. But fish farms consume eight million tonnes of fishmeal annually. Insect meal, produced by using by-products of waste, is the best alternative to this. France’s InnovaFeed develops insect breeding and processing technologies, it continued.

Sustainable forestry can also replace fossil-based materials because many of the products made from oil can also be made from a tree, the report said. Finnish forestry business UPM-Kymmene is building a biorefinery in Germany for this purpose.

Forestry is an asset class that has been gaining increasing attention from wealth managers recently. Gresham House, a specialist alternative asset manager, expects world timber consumption to rise almost threefold over the next 30 years, resulting in higher timber prices. This is due to increased housing demand as well as the move toward a low carbon economy and renewable energy. See more here. 

Production lines have also become so fast that traditional quality control cannot keep up, Pictet said. A factory might produce a flawed textile for hours before the problem is spotted. Machine vision cameras can spot problems in a minute, avoiding huge wastage, the study said.

There are two forces driving (de)globalization. The first is declining trade. The second is the fact that the interests of China and its allies are becoming less aligned with the interests of the US, Europe and their blocs, Pictet continued.

Companies recognize that relying on countries, which their government no longer has a good relationship with, for supplies is risky. But it’s not as simple as a reversal of globalization. Global trade – the sum of exports and imports as a proportion of GDP – peaked in 2008 and has fallen ever since, Pictet said.

For instance, Southeast Asia has benefited from the shift away from China. "Some US companies have not fully re-shored production, but rather moved out of China. A good example is when Apple shifted its iPad production to Vietnam," the report said.

As geopolitical tensions with Russia and China continue, defense companies will benefit, it said. The war in Ukraine has sent defense contractors into overdrive, but further out, cyber security businesses will see more research funding as cyber warfare increases. Israeli security startups offer exposure given the country’s pool of cyber professionals, Pictet said.

In Indonesia, 90 million people remain unbanked, yet 74 per cent have access to the internet via smartphones, the firm continued. Companies with exposure to mobile banking, especially in the developing world, are a prime opportunity for investment, as are startups in the world of decentralized finance.

Another example is reshoring and automation. "There’s a cost implication to reshoring but automation is a solution. Swiss manufacturing companies have shown the way by automating everything they can to counter high labor costs (even for Europe). Collaborative solutions such as ‘co-bots’ where robots work alongside humans will be in demand," the firm said.

Service economy
The service economy, the share of the world’s value generated by services as opposed to manufacturing or agriculture, is going to jump most notably in the developing world and this is already happening, Pictet continued. The number of people employed in services in middle income countries grew from 35 per cent in 1991 to 52 per cent in 2019 – a rise of 50 per cent. Over the same period, services employment in rich countries increased from 64 per cent to 74 per cent.

If developing countries can navigate their entry into the service economy and connect to the global economy (think India as an IT outsourcing destination), they could skip the stage of industrialization with its major capital and resource demands, the firm concluded.