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.
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.
The UK attracted a record £137 bln order book for its £10 bln Green Gilt. But what does the Green Gilt achieve? Its marketing puff. It may disguise how ill-considered and ultimately self-defeating the Government’s rush to looking green has been. No matter how well intentioned a Green Gilt is – its style over substance, papering over the cracks in a confused and contradictory long-term climate-change mitigation strategy.
Stock markets feel like they are running out of momentum – but that should not lead to fears of a no-see-um crash, rather a more fundamental assessment of the reasons why? In the UK, Plan B – National Economic Suicide by winter Lockdowns – looks on the cards. And, despite all the wonders of Big Tech and promises about how much better it makes our lives – most of it is pretty pants.
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 UK is going through periodic angst as everything looks terrible and we wonder how to balance the budget, pay the bills and avoid penury. Relax. We worry too much. Everyone else is cooking their national accounts. The UK can do it better. Buying Boots at the Ready!
The football is finished. Get over it. There is much more positive stuff to follow! The UK has many issues to overcome, but we are a nation generally comfortable with ourselves, secure in our future and full of promise. This is the time to be investing in UK Inc – not writing us off because England dropped ball in the penalty lottery, again!
UK Local Elections are pretty dull and meaningless affairs, but the vote in Scotland is perhaps an even more important plebiscite than Brexit. If the SNP achieve an absolute majority, then the UK could plunge into more years of uncertainty and distraction – whatever Boris thinks.
Across the Occidental Economy there seems a trend towards political failure as polarization, sleaze and opportunism takes hold, even as electorates suffer from increasing inequality and declining prospects. As the threat of post-pandemic inflation rises, the ingredients are all there for further instability and labour strife. It’s all happening as the geo-political spheres of influence between China and the West are being redrawn.
The outlook for the UK looks rosier as pubs reopen, vaccinations beat targets, and the economy grows. But, how should investors be looking at markets when financial assets already look overpriced, and there are clear bubble risks ahead? It’s a matter of staying calm, reading the runes and understanding the markets new mindset!