A challenging 2022, but a better year in prospect?
Few places for investors to hide in 2022…
There is no doubt about it: 2022 has been a difficult year for investors, whether conservative or dynamic. A balanced 50% stock/50% bonds portfolio has registered a 22% drop in US dollar terms. Euro-based investors have been cushioned by a weaker euro exchange rate, but have still suffered a 10% fall.
Few asset classes have withstood the market correction, which admittedly came on the heels of two excellent years for markets post the March 2020 lows. Gold has delivered a positive return in most currencies except USD, while infrastructure has delivered positive returns even in USD.
…due to economic/geopolitical uncertainties
The reasons for investor caution and market falls are evident. The first is the dramatic repricing of the cost of money in the form of higher interest rates. The surge in global inflation rates is the key culprit, spurred by supply chain disruptions in manufacturing and by higher energy prices.
The spike in geopolitical uncertainty following the invasion of Ukraine is the second main reason. Imposition of sanctions and the cutting of natural gas pipeline supplies from Russia to Europe have intensified the economic difficulties in Europe. This has added to inflation pressures and has also triggered at least a modest recession in H2 2022.