Just when we thought we were out of the worst of the pandemic’s main economic challenges, stuff got weirder. Now, thanks to a combination of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, the energy cricis, rising inflation and more Covid-19 cases (as in China), countries have their own unique cocktails of challenges and weak spots to contend with.
During April the war in Ukraine continued, Russia cannot gain the fields and towns that planned initially, changing tactics quite often. Ukraine resistance proves much stronger than initially appreciated, the western countries and the EU plan more sanctions against Russia who could not care less than to follow its imperialistic plan that touches Transnistria (land faithful to Russia that is between Moldava and Ukraine recognized only by Moldava). Economically, the world economy lives with the nightmare of inflation at more than 4-6% levels on average, neutralising any effort for growth.
In the US, president Joe Biden plans to tax rich over 400k income showing that this wealth should be retaxed and distributed to the poorer proving its socialistic profile. In numbers, change in nonfarm payrolls were up 431k (from 750k) which points higher unemployment in April even though March was at 6.9%. Exports were up by 4.2bln and imports by 4.1bln. Inflation for March was at 8.5% (on a monthly basis was up by 1.2%). Retail sales were up by 6.88% on an annual basis and industrial production was also higher better by 0.9%. Regarding the energy sector in the US, imports in crude oil were negative which means turned to exports, even marginally by $600k, crude inventories up by $2.4mln while gasoline production was up even though its inventories were down by $2mln. Natural gas inventories were also increased by 15bln c.ft. proving that energy is adequate in the US during the war in Ukraine.
In Europe, in France, Emmanuel Macron was reelected which reassured other European leaders, but markets had difficulty in confronting the inflationary environment (7.4% in eurozone) which is turning to stagflation. This means high inflation, no growth, and less investments due to higher costs. Most countries are subsidizing houses and enterprises trying to ease the high energy cost, and oil and gasoline prices, but this is being reflected to higher national debt as most countries have deficits and thus, lend money by issuing more government bonds.
The EUR/USD moved towards the 1.05 mark, and it is expected to continue further as long as US is a better economy than eurozone due to higher rates and better growth.
We hold excess liquidity awaiting proper timing to invest in US stocks in energy and technology sectors.
S&P-500 (6 month graph)
EuroStoxx-50 (6 month graph)
EUR/USD (6 month graph)
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