Clients, some of you have reached out to talk about the latest global developments and their implications for our work together.
We’re watching the news carefully, like everyone else. The hopeful view, if there is one, is in the vibrant and quick response by NATO, the EU, as well as what might be called a Western alliance and our allies around the world. These organizations are responding to a situation which could clearly continue to escalate. And those American politicians and media platforms most influenced by Russia do not seem to have much sway in shaping public opinion overall, thank goodness.
Ukraine was said by some to be a threat to Russia, for talking up increased ties to NATO and the EU: this is a pretense to reframe aggression as prevention. Putin is like the farmer insisting he doesn’t want to buy all the land—just what adjoins his own. If Ukraine were assimilated by Russia, then would Poland pose a similar threat next? And then maybe Germany and France in turn?
Russia’s economy is small, as a share of global trade. The problem is in the raw materials and energy on which the rest of the world has come to rely. Ukraine likewise is a significant exporter of crops and natural resources. The disruption to these markets will probably exacerbate inflation; a recession may well result. (Remember, though, that one is always on the way.) If energy costs, for instance, continue to rise—and they could—it is hard to see how the sales of all other goods and services avoid shrinking.
It is also important to remember that, technically, a recession is a decrease of any size in GDP for two quarters running. So if we had a quarter where we were at 99% of the record quarter before, and then did 1% less again the next quarter, that’s a recession. So we should never assume “what the next recession will mean” without some context and perspective.
The crosscurrents in the markets have been vicious. We’ve made portfolio changes cautiously, of course. We always want to make sure we can meet your needs for cash flow while keeping your long-term goals in the picture.
The key thing is, we can meet your need for cash flow without selling anything at a bad time. We can wait out a downturn whenever it comes, and we’ll seek to make the best of it by swapping into holdings likely to recover the fastest.
No guarantees. But clients, you’re watching things; we’re watching things. Call or email me with questions or concerns.
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