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Bank Warns of Potential Disasters Worse Than Pandemic

Deutsche Bank says there is a 1 in 3 chance of a worse catastrophe in the next decade
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2020 2:26 PM CDT
Updated Jun 21, 2020 7:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Financial markets are starting to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic amid promising signs from world economies—but Deutsche Bank doesn't pay its analysts to be optimists. In a report issued Tuesday, those analysts warned that there is a one-in-three chance of an event even more devastating than the pandemic hitting the world in the next decade, MarketWatch reports. The analysts said the biggest risks include a flu pandemic killing more than 2 million people, a "globally catastrophic volcanic eruption," a massive solar flare, or global war. Earthquakes were not included in the figures as they are localized events. A major flu pandemic was seen as the most likely catastrophe, with a 2% chance of one occurring in any given year. (The COVID-19 death toll stands at roughly 445,000.)

A severe solar storm hasn't hit the Earth since 1859, but it was rated as the second most likely disaster, with a 1.06% annual chance, reports Business Insider. "There could be major power outages as electrical power grids are disrupted, which in turn would have knock-on effects throughout the economy as critical infrastructure is unable to be run properly," the bank said. An eruption on the scale of the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which caused worldwide crop failures during the "Year Without a Summer," was given an 0.15% annual chance of occurring. Analysts acknowledged that the chances of global war are harder to predict, but said a "conservative assumption" would be 0.625% annually, meaning about a 25% chance of a world war within the next 40 years. (Read more disaster stories.)

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