Some people expected to go back to normalcy after the end of the COVID pandemic. But they could not get more wrong than that.
What 2022 has delivered to us so far is:
- As war returned to Europe, countries issued survival manuals.
- Skyrocketing inflation (which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone; check here to see how prolonged lockdowns and current inflation are linked) and food prices going up by more than 100% a year.
- Rising interest rates and people who may lose their homes if they have an ARM mortgage, while politicians try to put out a fire with more fuel.
- A Chinese banking crisis that may trigger the mother of all real-estate crises.
- Countries like Germany are facing an energy crisis, while Russia is struggling with the sanctions imposed by the west (despite the myth propagated by Russia that everything is fine there).
- Other nations, like Sri Lanka and Peru, either collapsed or suffered from widespread riots.
But all these crises are not affecting everyone in the same way. Some countries are cruising through 2022 with flying colors.
I interviewed some economists and fellow entrepreneurs and also consulted reliable sources of data to discover the countries benefiting from the war in Ukraine and all the turmoil of 2022.
One of them is very counter-intuitive (and if you disagree, I will be glad to read why in the comment section), but all of them, in 2022, are antifragile.
GDP Growth forecasted for Norway during 2022: 3.4%
Inflation forecast for 2022: 5.6% (Norway’s Central Bank)
The oil and gas industry makes up 20% of Norway’s economy, and 67% of all Norwegian exports. After putting sanctions on Russia, Europe looked for other ways to get energy, and Norway was one of the first places they looked. So it is an obvious name in this list of countries benefiting from the war in Ukraine.
Even though the production of the Scandinavian kingdom isn’t enough to cover all the volume that was once bought from Russia, both the volume exported and financial revenues are on the way to beat all the records.
A bit off-topic: Norway has an insane amount of electric cars, partially because electricity is so cheap there — and not reliant on fossil fuels.
Norwegians are already among the wealthiest people in the world, and projections show that their GDP will grow by 3.4%, which is unusual for developed, wealthy countries, even in times of peace.
Inflation in Norway is already at a 33-year high.
GDP Growth forecasted for Brazil in 2022: 2%
Inflation forecast for 2022: 7.15%
In the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Brazil took a position of economic neutrality (although diplomatically Brazil condemned the Russian invasion).
This was a good move for Brazil and put it in this list of countries benefiting from the war in Ukraine, since the country exports a lot of food and needs fertilizers from Russia. With the prices of beef, grains, and other items going through the roof, Brazilian exports are breaking record after record, Their currency, the Real, is one of the best-performing during 2022.
I asked Gabriel Schühli, a Brazilian economist and expert in the public sector, about the threats to the national economy:
Dependence on potash (a fertilizer) and oil refining came up. Despite being good at agriculture and having oil reserves, we have several weaknesses. Internal debate on the country’s future will include R&D investment, favorable legislation, and trading partner diversification.
Also, it’s important to remember that Brazil will have general elections in 2022. The results of these elections could have a tremenduous effect on the country’s future.
GDP Growth forecasted for Poland in 2022: 5.2%
Inflation forecast for 2022: 14.4% (Fitch Ratings)
You probably want to know why Poland is here, in a list of countries benefiting from the war in Ukraine. After all, it is a country that is next to the biggest war zone in Europe since World War II.
And that’s exactly why Poland is here, dear reader.
The war pumped the Polish economy from many sides.
- NATO defense investments have spilled into other areas of the economy. Anecdotal evidence: Pizzerias in southeastern Poland are incredibly full of customers due to the increasing number of American soldiers stationed here.
- Multiple Ukrainian businesses relocated to Poland, bringing investments and helping to increase the Polish GDP. Even their most traditional football team, Dinamo Kyiv, is sending their games to the Polish city of Lodz, boosting local tourism in a city that rarely hosts European International Championship matches such as the Europa Cup. This is just one of many examples.
- A lot of skilled workers came to Poland as refugees. For years, Poland had a very low unemployment rate (below replacement in many industries), and that harmed the local productivity. Likely, Ukrainian skilled refugees are the major reason for the boom experienced by the Polish economy this year — the fastest growing economy in the entire European Union.
- International aid for refugees often ends up in the Polish economy, since Poland is home to more than 4 million Ukrainians at the moment.
- Poland is one of the few countries that have full gas reserves for the winter. Reserves so full that Poland may even be able to share some of its reserves with neighboring countries.
Russia, of course, but also sanctions from the European Union courts, which is in constant attraction with the Polish government.
Even though Poland has full gas reserves, the European Union’s “solidarity mechanism” could force Poland to share its reserves with countries like Germany that failed to fill their own. Germany, besides failing to fill its emergency gas reserves, also considered the reckless decision to turn off its nuclear power plants.
The United Arab Emirates
GDP Growth forecasted for the UAE in 2022: 5.4%
Inflation forecast for 2022: 5.6%
People from wealthy countries like Russia and China are moving to the UAE in large numbers. The Visual Capitalist says that in 2022 alone, they will have a net immigration (immigration minus emigration) of more than 4,000 very rich people. This is more than any other country in the world has. In comparison, Switzerland only had 2200.
Rich Russians and Chinese who want to leave their own countries’ problems are driving up the prices of luxury villas, apartments, and prime real estate in places like Dubai. Sales increased by 51%.
The United Arab Emirates is a country heavily reliant on food imports. Disruptions in the supply chain and rising fertilizer costs could lead to a spiral of price inflation and threaten the food security of GCC countries.
GDP Growth forecasted for 2022: 5.1%
Inflation forecast for 2022: 4.4%
Qatar has the 3rd largest natural gas reserves in the world, and the 3rd largest exporter, just below Russia and the US. Gas prices are rocketing and as a consequence Qatari revenues.
Since February, European nations have asked Qatar for more LNG (liquefied natural gas) shipments. That includes Germany, whose economy depends on Russian gas more than any other in Europe. A new European gas pipeline will be built this summer on the border between Greece and Bulgaria. This will make it even easier to get gas to the continent.
Since almost 70% of the government’s revenue comes from the Oil&Gas industry, Qatar’s economy is pretty much a one-horse show. The country is doing well while oil prices are high, but a global recession induced by higher interest rates and an economic crisis could cause oil prices to drop again.
Also, like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar imports a lot of food, so any problems with supplies could have a big effect on prices and supermarket shelves in the country.
Talking about food security, here you can check some countries that may collapse during the next 12 months due to inflationary spirals, recession, and food supply problems.
If you are not “lucky” enough to live or invest in any of the countries benefiting from the war in Ukraine, the following two articles could be useful:
- Inflation does not affect everyone equally. Here is a guide to 4 industries that BENEFIT from Inflation.
- Here is a practical guide to surviving the mega inflationary wave, with advice from Argentinians, Brazilians, Poles, and others who have experienced life under out-of-control inflation firsthand.
Good luck, and good reading.
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Levi Borba is the founder of expatriateconsultancy.com, creator of the channel The Expat, and best-selling author.