Lots of conflicting signals in markets, but what does it all mean? It largely boils down to inflation – to understand it we have to think beyond conventional economics and address the causes and reality, rather than punishing the economy!
Markets are confused by rates, inflation and recession risks, wondering what central banks will do. The smart money gets it – Central Banks are on top of this, and have the fine controls to avoid crises becoming catastrophes. Meanwhile… why is my drinks cupboard full of craft gin?
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.
Who cares who replaces Angela Merkel? But the likely inability of the ECB to address the consequences of monetary experimentation and inflation in coming years could cause Germany’s coming generation of bland political nobodies to be superseded by something more populist and chaotic, creating all kinds of problems for Yoorp.
The ECB has tweaked the words and now has low interest rates forever, and a new mandate to “tolerate” higher inflation. What will it achieve? To answer look at the failed 30 year experiment in Japan and the multiple parallels. The outlook for Europe as a global economic and innovative powerhouse looks shaky.
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?
Consequences are unavoidable. Pension savers are crushed by interest rate repression and the changing demographics of Covid, while the deluge of debt fuelled by low rates does nothing for economic sustainability.