Markets are being whipsawed by rate hike threats from Central Banks, China lockdowns, the Ukraine war, while being stalked by inflation and stagflation. The big risk remains policy mistakes – trying to solve these with the wrong monetary and fiscal policies.
Populism is a massive threat to markets. Inflation, tax-hikes, petrol costs, poverty, political mismanagement and a host of other failings could further destabilise the West, while markets seem determined to stay euphoric whatever the evidence to the contrary.
As a difficult 1st Quarter-End approaches, markets look fraught, but so do the fundamentals of the Western Free Market Economies – Capitalism needs maintenance and repair work on dishonest politics, immoral companies and broken bureaucracies.
The West will win the economic war against Russia, but it will take time and impose recessionary costs, while triggering pain across markets (including the housing bubble). But when it’s done… it will time to put your buying boots on!
Who really knows what is happening in Ukraine, or what the players are thinking? The long-term economic consequences could be huge, marking the moment the post Cold-War global consensus and order breaks down. The potential consequences include social and political instability, war, famine, and who knows what else.
We all want peace in Ukraine, but it’s critical that Russia is seen to lose, and lose badly – not only China, but India and the Gulf are watching. There are pros and cons to winning an economic war, and moral issues also, but the West can win – if it has the determination to do so.
Yet another difficult week in prospect for markets as $130 oil threatens a global shock, geopolitics remains on the edge, and London tries to rid itself of an infestation of oligarchs without exposing the politicians who let them capture the state.
Some investment banks are picking up cheap Russian assets – which negates the purpose and aims of sanctions, and will simply fuel Putin’s propaganda machine. Meanwhile, Blain’s stupidity index is only down 38% - which shows there are still greater fools out there…
The World has changed and changed utterly – although we may not realise it yet. We are likely on course for massive disruption, inflation, rising geopolitical crisis and uncertainty, and a high probability of stagflation. But – don’t tell anyone.
Anyone for a choc-ice?
The immediate financial market outlook is risk-off driven by Ukraine, followed by rising fears and concerns about inflation policy mistakes, wondering when to pick the bottom in the tech cycle to buy great ideas, why Boeing should be in jail, and longer-term concerns about where we are going in terms of transition.