The publication of this year’s Global Competitiveness Report comes at an important juncture for the global economy. After four years of robust growth, the global economy is expected to continue to expand by some 4.9 percent this year. The US economy, though showing signs of a slowdown, remains the world’s primary engine of growth. But remarkably strong growth rates are forecast for many emerging market economies, especially China and India. Yet amid positive growth prospects, there are a number of key uncertainties across the global economic landscape. Benchmark oil prices have continued their steep rise in 2006 driven by strong demand, refinery problems and political uncertainties. Market reactions to the spectre of war in the Middle East, the geopolitical consequences of Iran’s nuclear programme, and worries about the emerging role of Russia as a major energy power, continue to have a major impact on market sentiment. But this is not all.