Global Advertising: Special Report

If there is one man who could be said to be directly responsible for the health of the global advertising market, it is the gent to the right of this column.

He is Alan Greenspan, the octogenarian chairman of the US Federal Reserve, who has more reason than usual to look troubled. Hailed as an economic genius during the Clinton era, Greenspan marshalled the long-term decline of interest rates that led to one of the brightest periods in US - and therefore global - economic history.

Now though, facing a monster budget deficit and rising consumer prices, there is talk of Greenspan hiking the interest rate. If this happens and the US economy falters, it will be bad news for advertising markets everywhere - such is the inescapable influence of the US.

But there's no need to panic. The overall economic picture is still pretty rosy, even without the luxury of an Olympic Games and elections this year to give the advertising industry some guarantees of spending. And, as the forecasting guru Adam Smith points out (this page), recessions are impossible to predict, so there's no excuse for jittery boardrooms just yet.

In any case, America is unlikely to harbour unassailable influence forever.

Despite controlling a whopping 43 per cent of the global advertising market now, that figure is likely to slip to 39 per cent over the next three years. Growth of the global market - expected to increase by 28 per cent to $442 billion by 2007 - will start coming in earnest from other major advertising centres. While this isn't great news for markets with strong ties to the US (such as the UK), this is a welcome sign for those with a firm footing in Asia, the express train of the global economy.