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.
Its “Freedom Day” in the UK, but it feels same as, same as. Bond markets look stressed, but freak weather is raising the probability government intervention dwarfing the scale of the pandemic may become necessary. There will not be a gradual, ordered progression to a new higher temperature climate. Instead… the reality looks like high-cost chaotic freak-weather events becoming increasingly common. The cost could hit trillions.
How long can markets party on like there is no tomorrow? The thing is – there always is and the hangover is bound to hurt, which is an apt metaphor as English pubs reopen today ! Markets need to prepare for the inevitable consequences of the big transition from 12 mixed years of fairly useless monetary experimentation to a future of fiscal pump-prime policies. What will it all mean for speculative bubbles, inflation and investment preservation?
As vaccine wars hot up and markets worry about interest rates and central bank action, the theme of price distortion continues to unsettle valuations. One aspect of distortion is in the increasing weight being put on ESG metrics – which should be market positive, but look to be vulnerable to Woke-like “doubleplusungood” groupthink, potentially further distorting markets.