Can somebody explain what "to the downside" means in this context for me, please.

We think the (economic) risks are to the downside. Gold has tended to underperform in an environment of strong global growth, so whilst not an outright tailwind, slowing growth certainly eases the pressure on gold.

Source: News Article It's Time to Buy Gold

  • It should be pointed out that this is business-writing jargon, and to the downside would not be perfectly clear to many native English speakers. It could mean downside risk, that is, the risk of an underperforming investment which would result in a loss.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 11:19

2 Answers 2


By definition, risk measures uncertainty. When it comes to investing, the riskier the investment, the higher the probability that you might lose money.

The preposition to in this context means toward. By saying that the risks are "to the downside," the author is acknowledging that there is some risk, but thinks that these risks are relatively low.


the downside , or the downside (of something) according to the Longman dictionary conveys:

the negative part or disadvantage of something

Although here in the context, it may carry two different meanings :

  • When the economic risks are to the downside, imagining a made-up risk chart it could potentially mean the risks are decreasing.

  • Another possible meaning it may have is, considering when the risks are to the downside, they are on the negative part which could mean, they're sort of likely to happen and the reality.

In order to wrap up, I'd say it relatively depends on the point of view.

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