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In economics, headwinds are adverse conditions in the general economy, or in a specific market sector.

Economic headwinds slow M&A
"In [Mergermarket]'s assessment, following a peak in the M&A cycle during the first half of last year, increased market volatility, geopolitical tensions between the US and China, Brexit anxiety in Europe and tougher economic headwinds have precipitated a slowdown."
The Treasurer magazine, 17 May 2019, web exclusive.

The term derives from shipping and air travel, where a headwind is one blowing in the opposite direction from the one you are aiming to move in.

See also