'The risk is very, very high, and we need to pay very close attention to what's happening in Europe'

We’re nearing the end of 2016, and Wall Street economists are focusing on Donald Trump and the potential impact of
his proposed policies.
There’s another major issue however that could have dire economic consequences for the US and the potential to create another 2008, according to Markus Schomer, the chief economist of PineBridge Investments.

He’s talking about the upcoming European elections in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and most likely Italy.

Populism has already swept through the UK with Brexit and the US with a President-elect Donald Trump. In 2017, it will be Europe’s turn, with major elections that could have dire consequences.

“A major part of our outlook [for 2017] is the story in Europe with the elections,” Schomer said in an interview with Markets Insider. “We never looked enough at elections, and the consequences of elections, but now everybody is completely and totally aware of it.”

The elections could be “hugely consequential,” according to Schomer, and could have a “very serious, damaging impact” on the European Union and the euro.
“If just one of the elections goes wrong, there’s going to be another major, major euro crisis,” said Schomer, “and that could be worse than the one in 2010 and could create another 2008. I think markets will be very sensitive to that over the course of 2017.”

Vocal populists have won the two major popular votes in the western world this year, Berenberg’s chief economist Holger Schmieding and senior UK economist Kallum Pickering said in a note to clients in the aftermath of the US presidential elections. “The success of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump raises an obvious question: could it happen elsewhere in Europe?”

According to HSBC’s chief European economist, Simon Wells, there is a risk that the Trump victory could boost the popularity of anti-immigration and populist parties across Europe.

Populist movements have been growing in Europe as the continent has grappled with ongoing large-scale economic and political challenges in recent years, including the European debt crisis, the migrant crisis, terrorism, the Turkey-EU refugee deal, and Greece.

“The risk is very, very high,” said Schomer, “and we need to pay very close attention to what’s happening in Europe.”

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