Inflation is increasing the burden of the UK’s debt, but it’s been well managed and should not impact as heavily as it might in other highly indebted nations. We can probably afford to spend more – especially in Defence, the primary duty of any state.
The Ukraine War has catalysed a tsunami of negative economic events around the global economy – and markets are remaining pretty much blind to the long-term consequences.
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.
Markets are great at reacting to a single stimulus but are like a frog in a pan of warming water when it comes to consequential events. Forget “Black Swans” or “no-see-ums”, but figure out how the increasingly complex picture of unfolding events and consequences are driving markets!
Boris whipped the Tory faithful into a frenzy with his “wizard” economic plans, but it was empty, hollow and doomed bluster full of soundbites and repeating policy mistakes like austerity and higher taxes. It’s time for Government to get radical and retro-build the economy from top to bottom – all of which is imminently possible if they learn the lessons of the pandemic.
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.
The UK’s decision to hike taxes and put a sticking plaster on the cash-haemorrhaging NHS highlights serious issues for Soveriegn Debt Investors. Expectations on interest rates and currency markets are one issue, but the competency of governments to manage the quantum of debt raised through the pandemic and avoid rising uncertainty will be increasingly under the microscope.
The shocking return of the Taliban dominates the headlines. It has critical implications for markets. Biden’s loss of credibility creates many hurdles and could drive the US towards isolationism – bruised by yet another flawed foreign adventure. Meanwhile, markets struggle with inflation and climate consequences.
The UN has declared a Code Red Climate Emergency. As we all know addressing climate change has enormous implications for investment strategies, but can governments collectively deliver the joined-up and effective policies required to save the planet? The jury is out…
Blain’s Morning Porridge – 4 Feb 2021: Buying Boots On “Smuggling guns and arms across the Spanish border….” I am…