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Insight - Making Sense of the Narrative


Bond markets are changing their views on Fed policy based on the high frequency data, seemingly unaware that the major variable the Fed is watching is the bond markets themselves. After the funding panic of last September and the regional bank wobble last March, the twin architects of US monetary policy (the Fed is now joined by the Treasury) are focussing on Bond Market stability as their primary aim. Politicians meanwhile, having seen how the bond markets ended the administration of UK Premier Liz Truss in September 2022 are keenly aware that it is not just "the Economy stupid", but the Economy and the markets that they need to manage the narrative for both voters and markets. They all need a form of Goldilocks - either good or bad, but not so good or so bad as to trigger either the markets to sell off or the authorities to react. Investors, meanwhile, conscious of the precarious balancing act Goldilocks requires, are increasingly looking at Gold.

The popularity of the 'neither of the above' candidate RFK jnr raises an intriguing possibility of a contingent Election in the US, with the new House of Representatives picking the President. Smart analysts like Dr Pippa Malmgrem are starting to talk about it, while the betting markets are also starting to move. The financial markets? Not yet.

The peasants are rebelling against the bien pensants. The people of Europe are pushing back against their would be masters, symbolised by the Tractors of the Dutch, German and now French Farmers as they blockade the Citadels. Misleadingly portrayed as 'Far Right', the key feature is the ESG and Green Leap Forward policies that have, unbidden, replaced the Common Agricultural and Common Industrial Policies as the Raison d'etre of the EU and that are, as the farmers put it " absurd, extreme and unworkable" . There is a high 'risk' that this will drive increased nationalism and ultimately seriously damage to the EU and the other associated Globalist institutions.

With almost half the world voting in 2024 we see Populism upsetting the status quo from both left and right. Davos Man is facing something of an existential threat this year. Globalists have sold a false premise that the system has to be either Capitalism or Socialism, when in fact it can have both. Instead we have 'third way' Crony Capilalism/Corporatism in the West where households are excluded as Governments and Corporates are essentially being run for their own benefits. This has reached the point of over-reach and populists from both left and right are going to push back with a different interpretation of Build Back Better

A year ago this week the Russians officially recognised the breakaway republics of the Donbas and triggered a ‘Special Military Operation’ (SMO) that in turn triggered a spike in risk premia that shocked markets.