15 Feb On the Brink…
I’ve had a busy six weeks since my last email, having given talks in the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, and Puerto Rico so far this year. While in Cayman, I spent about 45 minutes talking with Grant Williams, a friend from my investing days. He’s now helping run Real Vision TV, an online portal for finance videos, and I did a taped interview with him that he converted into a “Think Piece” for the site. CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO.
During the interview, I discussed a range of geopolitical and economic risks that I see emerging from the Chinese slowdown and the collapse of hard commodity and energy prices. These included the potential for a failed state in South Africa, a country with astronomically high unemployment; deepening recession in Canada; and domestic unrest in Saudi Arabia. With China, I explained why I foresaw an economic trough as its economy shifts from investment- to consumption-led growth.
Looking beyond today’s seemingly chaotic economic and political environment, I noted the risk of conflict in the Arctic and described my bullish outlook for animal protein. I specifically noted the potential for a demand shock from a growing global middle class on all the elements of the protein production chain, from fertilizer to grain to meat. Closer to home, I also touched on how the global financial crisis affected the mindsets of college students.
Speaking of college students, the Yale seminar on business ethics I teach to undergraduates has gotten off to an exciting start this semester. Guests to date have included Mike Peel, former head of HR for General Mills; Matthew Winkler, former editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News; Jude Scott, CEO of Cayman Finance; and Claire Criscuolo, proprietor of Claire’s Corner Copia, the legendary New Haven restaurant that recently celebrated its 40th birthday. It’s been a blast to teach this course and I feel privileged to have such great students and guests who stimulate wonderful discussions.
For my weekly insights on navigating our increasingly interconnected and uncertain world, do not forget to follow me on my various social media channels. To stay up to date with my work on Facebook, please like my page here. Follow me on Twitter here and LinkedIn here. And for those receiving this email from a friend or colleague, you can add yourself to my mailing list here.
Best wishes for safe passage through today’s global cross-currents.
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The new year’s market turbulence was yet another sign that the Fed is unlikely to stick to the course of rate hikes it signaled in December. In this short comment, I describe the global conditions that are making investors and policymakers alike squeamish.
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