It’s going to be a testing week for markets as a whole slew of negatives, challenges and no-see-ums threaten to overturn everything. It couldn’t look worse… unless of course you remember my key market mantra (read on), and that the sun usually comes up tomorrow. Happy Valentines..
It’s easy to say no to an investment likely to generate hostile news. It’s simple to go along with increasingly Militant ESG rhetoric on gas to avoid negative headlines. But - we will fail to reach Carbon Net-Zero unless gas remains part of the transition equation and governments get a grip on energy strategies.
Climate Change and Energy Transition is one of the great challenges to capitalism and market economies – but there is no reason to fear it. Its complex, but infinitely solvable. The technologies exist to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 at a cost far less than doomsters fear.
“The future may dimly be perceived through the veil of the past”, sounds like bad poetry, but has a point. The confusions and conflabulations that characterised 2021 will likely set the tone for what’s coming – what were the key themes of 2021? Best to understand them before trying to fathom what comes next.
Did you feel markets judder when Powell spoke? The mood has changed as markets wake up to the danger Central Banks might just start doing their jobs. As Winter begins, Europe faces a bleak energy crisis of its own making. My solution? Buy a generator!
Greta Thunburg was right – there was a lot of blah, blah, blah at COP26, but also positive steps. The perception remains of rising climate risks, and that’s fuelling an increasingly de-growth extreme climate change populist agenda – which could prove even more disastrous than rising temperatures!
It’s easy to be cynical about next week’s COP26 Gabfest, but we could all be winners if global leaders successfully optimise for a cleaner decarbonised environment and a global growth economy based on new clean technologies, but we need time for the transition from fossil fuels. If we fail to do so, the alternatives are bleak.
Markets are never as bad as you fear, but never as good as you hope. The Threat Board has seldom looked so complex: we can try to predict outcomes, but its notoriously difficult. The list of potential ignition points seems to be expanding exponentially: Energy Prices, Oil, Inflation, Stagflation, Supply Chains, Recession, China, Politics, Consumer Sentiment, Business Confidence, Property Markets, Liquidity, Bond Yields, Stock Prices.. you name it and someone is worrying about it.
Stock markets look to have shrugged off this week’s dip despite the likelihood of rising interest rates and the end of QE programmes – the dreaded “Taper” – next year. Markets look calm, but the equinoxal gales are coming as traders focus increasingly on the inflation vs stagflation outlook. There is increasing uncertainty on everything from China, German Elections, to Supply Chains.
ESG is a marvellous concept appallingly executed. To understand how it’s gone wrong I recommend Tariq Fancy’s rant about his time as Sustainability CIO at Blackrock. To figure out how we actually deliver climate-change mitigation, social amelioration and better corporate governance, and avoid these lofty concepts being hijacked and suborned by business and finance interests, we need to replace the carrot of ESG with the stick of Carbon Taxes and Corporate Legislation. Time to get real and dispense with ESG claptrap.