In recent history, geopolitical crises have tended to be short-lived and after an initial sell-off they provide buying opportunities for investors. It’s tempting to see a similar pattern in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which would explain why markets have been on a roller-coaster, with a fast recovery expected for any perceived positive development, after the initial negative shock when Russia launched its unexpected large scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. However, now is not the time to be complacent and buy too much into short-term news, until the picture of how the conflict is evolving becomes clearer.
Most importantly, investors should bear in mind that we are not living in normal times. We are in the middle of a regime shift characterised by unprecedented inflationary forces not seen in the past five decades. The regime we are moving into, that I call the “Road back to 70s”, is not only inflationary in nature. As I have advocated over the past two years, it will come with a harsh readjustment of the geopolitical order (implying higher fragmentation), with the final death of globalisation and the emergence of regionalisation centred on new global powers.
Among the winners will be China, whose economic cycle is gaining independence from the US and with a rising role for the Chinese renminbi as the currency of trade for the region.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict is adding to the case rather than subtracting, with inflation being a particular certainty of the regime and stagflation its main core risk, and Europe being the most impacted area.