For the past 15 years, since the Global Financial Crisis, central banks have claimed they could generate demand and economic growth via stimulus. Some $73tn of spending later, it is finally becoming clear to some of them, at least, that they can’t.
Now, we all have to start picking up the pieces of the problems they have created.
investors are hoping Fed Chairman Jay Powell will soon signal a dramatic interest rate cut. And so they are positioning for a ‘Santa Claus’ rally. But most adults know that Santa Claus doesn’t really exist.
The smartphone market highlights how companies are responding very differently to the economic slowdown. Samsung is adding features such as ‘foldables’. But Apple is building services business to provide annuity revenue for the future.
Last week, the Japanese yen fell through the US$ : ¥150 level for the first time since 1990. It has now fallen by nearly 50% against the US$ in the past two years. The currency is behaving as if Japan were a 3rd world country – whereas it is actually the 3rd largest economy in the world. Clearly, something is very wrong.
Essentially, the industry is at a crossroads.
It now needs to move forward, and accelerate the move to create new circular business models. There is a once-in-a generation opportunity to build a completely new future, based on closer relationships with its downstream stakeholders, including brand owners and waste companies.
US 10-year interest rates are the world’s benchmark “risk-free” market. And as the chart shows, their yield has risen from 3.25% on 4 June to peak at 4.88% on Friday. Prices move inversely to yield. So that means prices have fallen 50% in 4 months.
The paradigm shifts are already starting to impact most businesses. China is also changing, and will no longer power global growth. So there are no ‘Business as Usual’ options for the future. Instead, companies have to develop new business models for today’s New Normal world.
300+ years of Bank of England data shows that interest rates are typically inflation plus 2.5%. At today’s level, this would imply – US rates would be 3.7% + 2.5% = 6.2%: Japan would be 3.2% + 2.5% = 5.7%: Eurozone rates would be 5.3% + 2.5% = 7.8%; UK rates would be 6.7% + 2.5% = 9.2%
It’s too soon to talk of an actual energy crisis. But as the charts showing Brent oil and European natural gas prices confirm, it is certainly time to start planning for the possibility: Oil prices have recently risen 25%. And Europe risks gas shortages if there is a cold winter
Most Americans can’t qualify for a mortgage today with prices and interest rates at generation-highs. Yet housing starts average a post-2007 record of 1.5m/month. Logic therefore suggests the US housing market could be heading for a repeat of the 2008 crisis