The Green Line

A monthly chart, plus a short commentary
The K is not OK
December 2020: The consensus is that we are in a K-shaped recovery – that means winners and losers. We are not all in this together. The unique shape of the covid-19 crisis and accompanying recession has meant some industries have thrived whilst others have dived. In caricature, everyone now uses Zoom and Peloton, while offices and gyms were forced to close.
Remind me why you own bonds
November 2020: The future looks even more uncertain than usual. Normally uncertainty translates into lower asset prices. But not this time. And with the prices of all assets buoyed by abundant liquidity, we fear a traditional ‘diversified’ portfolio is not going to be much protection in the next market convulsion.
You can’t tax your way out of this
October 2020: The coronavirus pandemic has hit public finances like a war. Across the world governments have scrambled to offset the economic and social impact of the virus. Huge, and necessary, rises in public spending have pushed government deficits to levels not seen since the two world wars of the twentieth century.
A vaccine: to v or not to v? That is the question
September 2020: The superforecasters of the Good Judgement Project believe there is a 93% probability we will have an FDA-approved vaccine in a year, and enough of it to inoculate 25m people in the US. This is up from just 20% in the dark days of April.
Time to value Value
August 2020: The US internet shares have been roaring ahead, particularly in recent months. The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the shift toward online retail and smart communications, and these are the most obvious winners. It has been a giddy ride.
Scrabbling around for income
July 2020: Coronavirus shutdowns have triggered the worst recession since the Great Depression. Like a depth charge dropped against a submarine, we’ve felt the shockwave but have yet to see how much debris floats to the surface. Ratings agencies suggest the damage is serious and that default rates will soar.
This time really is different
June 2020: The sheer scale of the economic heart attack caused by COVID-19 can be difficult to grasp, especially when the sun is shining and lockdowns are starting to ease. But this month’s chart of job losses and recoveries in US recessions since the Second World War brings home the enormity of the damage.
When just in time becomes just in case
May 2020: Balance sheets show the trade-off between resilience and optimisation
COVID-19 and the dawn of a new market era
April 2020: The era of monetary dominance is over. Helicopter money signals investment regime changes ahead.
Will COVID-19 cause a recession?
March 2020: February saw concerns over coronavirus truly go global. Whilst public safety and containment of the outbreak must clearly be the primary concern, for financial markets the key question is will the virus cause a recession?
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