Global risks are predicted to fall in 2014, with the recovery of the US and Europe having a positive knock-on effect on other markets, a conference in Paris has heard.

Delegates at Coface’s Country Risk Conference (among which was GTR) heard that stability is expected among the world’s developed trade economies, with Austria, Germany, Ireland and the US having their risk outlook upgraded a notch for the coming year.

The trend is expected to filter through to emerging markets too, with none expected to overshoot last year’s performance and with Brazil, Thailand and Tunisia the only ones to have their outlook downgraded.

Meanwhile in Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda have all had their risk outlook upgraded.

Among the major boons for the US economy, said Coface’s chief economist Yves Zlotowski, is the impact of shale gas discoveries. Gas prices in the US are one-third the EU average, giving businesses a competitive cost advantage over international competitors.

However, Zlowtowski warned that the 17% increase in the productivity of the US labour market has not been reflected in unemployment statistics. Sure, the 3% rise in employment figures is positive, but the US continues to produce more using fewer people – a fact which could result in redundancies and civil unrest.

With economic recovery expected to spread throughout the eurozone, a revival in consumption levels are set to be the engine of growth among emerging markets. The eurozone will grow by 0.9% in 2014, according to Coface, leading to an increase combined emerging market growth of 0.4%, to 4.7%.

Even the seemingly perennial sick-men of Europe, Spain and Italy are predicted to return to growth in 2014, albeit at rates below 1%. Advanced European economies – particularly Ireland and the UK – are set to capitalise on a return to strong growth in the US, with exports expect to rise.

The UK’s risk rating, however, has remained the same (A3), with Coface saying that the volatility of the country’s main growth sectors prevents it from being upgraded. The UK is heavily-reliant on the financial services and real estate sectors, both of which are prone to bubbles. The chancellor George Osborne has been criticised of late for his “help to buy” scheme, which critics say is pushing house prices up, with the government failing to build more homes.

The world’s riskiest sector, according to Coface’s study, is metals. The market continues to struggle under low prices, overcapacity and falling demand in China.

In the US, the retail and automotive sectors are considered the least risky, buoyed by rising consumption and falling gas prices (customers can afford to buy and run a car now). Conversely, in Europe, the automotive sector sits alongside medals as the riskiest sector, perhaps because the continent has yet to feel the benefit of the shale gas revolution.