Global Tensions on the Rise in 2014; Sentiment at Lowest, Events Count Highest

Peter Hafez - Chief Data Scientist - RavenPack | August 07, 2014

Last weekend my wife remarked how torrid the world appeared to be at the moment. Indeed, unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ll know global tensions have been on the rise this year.

Using RavenPack’s macroeconomic and geopolitical data set, we can see the elevated the number of geopolitical events taking place and how depressed sentiment has become.

Figure one shows the global daily average RavenPack event sentiment score (red line) and daily event count (blue line), and their 14-day moving averages, for non-corporate events – that is economic, political, social and environmental. Sentiment is a measure between 0 and 100, with 50 being neutral. As you can see, sentiment is at its lowest for the year and the event count at its highest.

Global Tensions on the Rise in 2014

Figure two shows that the situation is not down to economic deterioration – the average sentiment score for global economic events remains above neutral (neutral = 50) and the event count is relatively stable. Hence it must be down to political, social and environmental issues.

Global Tensions on the Rise in 2014

So what are the crises driving the higher event count and lower sentiment. I think we can all guess – but here they are in pictures.

Figure three shows the equivalent event & sentiment data for Israel & Palestine. As you can see the number of events detected has shot up in the last month or so and sentiment has been steadily declining.

Global Tensions on the Rise in 2014

Figure four shows the evolution of Russian & Ukrainian sentiment. You can clearly see the peak in events around February/March when President Yanukovych resigned and disappeared and Russia’s parliament approved the use of force in Ukraine. Also note, sentiment didn’t really deteriorate at the time. That’s not true of recent events related to economic sanctions – the count is up and sentiment is down.

Global Tensions on the Rise in 2014

And then there are the Arabic countries of the Middle East – Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. It’s clear from figure 5 that the event count has declined in recent weeks and sentiment is off its lows compared to June when ISIS seized Mosul. But one wonders how much of the recent drop in detected events is down to the world’s eyes being on Israel, Palestine, Russia and the Ukraine?

Global Tensions on the Rise in 2014

Request a Trial

Fill out the form below and see RavenPack in action.