VOL. 37 NO. 11
Traditionally year-end comes with major forecasts for the new year by economists and other prognosticators,often upended by events. This year is no exception, and even if we still have two ongoing wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, we can safely say that—from an economic point of view—2023 has outperformed most expectations, with inflation coming down significantly.
And yet there is a major paradox in the data, one that is the focus of our cover story. Despite the dollar’s strength, growth is surging in the US, while China’s juggernaut economy is slowing, and Europe is in a temporary recession. Ironically, the US and China showed the same GDP growth in the last quarter: 4.9%. For the US, it represents growth over the prior year, while for China it represents a drop from previous quarters.
This month we also present three significant awards programs, dedicated to three of the fastest-growing areas in financial services. The private banking awards honor the most successful private banks in the world. They also recognize this business line as an area of growth for many banks—a growth that often seems recession-proof. As wealth grows on many continents, so do the demands of the expanding clientele, for better service and technology.
The SME awards likewise celebrate a crucial growth line of for financial services, in both advanced and developing economies. Servicing small and medium enterprises, has been turbocharged by technology developments. At times, SMEs can take advantage of solutions built for larger clients, but in other cases smaller enterprises need services and solutions that meet their specific needs, and banks worldwide are making great strides in this area.
Finally, our digital bank awards honor excellence globally, which in no small part means heralding the achievements of big banks. Still, we also recognize the small and agile newcomers who bring exceptional technology advancements. Digital innovations remain critical to strengthening financial services and broadening their reach—for all lines of business.