A SURVEY by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that more than nine in 10 experts are worried about worsening economic or political confrontation between world powers amid a trend towards “charismatic strongman politics”.

The WEF cited a “deteriorating geopolitical landscape” and increasing cyber threats as key factors behind a pessimistic outlook this year - adding to continued worries about the environment.

Its Global Risks Report is based on a survey of nearly 1,000 experts and decision-makers from business, academia and other fields on 30 risks over a 10-year horizon.

Alison Martin, chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance Group, which contributed to the report, said: “Global risks, nowadays, are so interconnected that they can threaten the very systems on which our societies, economies, and international relations are based.”

The WEF also said four in five survey respondents indicated that they expect rising risks “associated with war involving major powers”.

The report noted how US president Donald Trump “delivered on some of his unilateralist campaign pledges” by pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord and a trans-Pacific trade pact.

It also said “identity politics” could increase geopolitical and domestic risks.

“Charismatic strongman politics is on the rise across the world,” it said. “In addition to the ‘America First’ platform of President Trump, variations on this theme can be seen in numerous countries from China to Japan, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and elsewhere.”

The report said last year’s clash of “strong-state instincts” of Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “has created uncertainty about the strength of the norms created by decades of work to prevent nuclear conflict”.

The WEF also said geopolitical tensions are fanning an increase in the scale and sophistication of cyber attacks, and suggests greater investment in prevention and cyber security is needed.

The World Economic Forum annual meeting will take place from January 23-26 in Davos, Switzerland.