Stage 2022: Cycling on
As holidaymakers resume their familiar summer breaks and crowds return to the Champs-Elysées to cheer on the final stage of the 2022 Tour de France, elsewhere established customs and trends seem less secure. One could say that this period of transition has been ongoing for some time. But in 2022, a new phase clearly unfolded, one unique to our times, but at the same time also hugely familiar. A phase where everything takes on a geopolitical slant.
From this new vantage point, we can see a slow but steady reorientation of the world, upturning previous “certainties”. Economic policies are being reconsidered as the low-inflation regimes seen in Europe and the US in the past few decades have vanished, just as established geopolitical alliances are turned on their heads. Amongst all this, the shift to a low-carbon economy has gone from a pressing issue to an absolute priority as we try to live with the effects of climate and with the energy shortages due to the current conflict in Ukraine.
Our latest edition of the Amundi Pension Funds letter examines what this shift in regimes will mean for pension funds.
Throughout history, economic and financial markets have been driven by long-term regimes, which are brought to a close when the imbalances borne by society become too extreme. The existing regime gives way to a new one. This was last the case in the mid-1980s when the Great Inflation, which defined the 1970s, gave way to the Great Moderation, a regime of low market volatility and inflation.
We now face what we at Amundi have named the Great Transformation. This new regime will be defined by higher inflation, lower growth and increased global desynchronisation and fragmentation. The social inequalities brutally exposed by the pandemic and the escalating climate crisis represent huge challenges to society and will require colossal investment to overcome.
Meanwhile, the shifting international frameworks have led Europe to rethink its reliance on imports and its ability to compete in the digital revolution and in innovation overall. But untangling decades of interconnected supply chains and finding the funding for a project of this scale is no easy task. What will this ultimately mean for pension funds?
However, the major transformation of our times remains climate change and the essential mitigation and adaptation efforts needed to avoid climate disaster. What impact will these measures have on asset prices? Amundi Institute looks at how these factors impact return forecasts and what the consequences will be for investors.
Finally, we conclude with our regular look at what the recent market movements have meant for pension funding ratios and take a closer look at the uncertainty and implications bought by soaring inflation.