Central Banks, Sugar, Health, Gas, Negative Rates, Railways, Brexit, Agriculture, Law

Welcome to the December 2019 edition of the Ghost In The Machine, which as ever looks at a broad spectrum of topical issues. These range from the latest round of central bank policy easing, through prospects for Sugar markets in terms of price and health trends, the Dutch/European gas market, post Brexit prospects for UK agriculture, challenges for UK rail freight, and the fallout from the judge’s ruling in the Natixis vs. Marex and Access World Logistics case.

Fed and ECB decisions to ease policy in the face of a weaker global economy once again impart an asset allocation bias to equities, given low fixed income yields, but raises questions over stimulus efficacy, ballooning debt levels and indeed financial stability. The Fed flagged its easing as a ‘mid-cycle adjustment’, but would it consider deploying negative rates in the face of a sharper downturn?

EDITORS NOTE Sugar markets remain under a large cloud, but with supply forecasts being reduced and a large ‘short’ position, there may be echoes of 2015. Health concerns have dented sugar consumption trends, but complacency and a failure to challenge false narratives behoves the industry to actively promote its ‘healthier’ sugar initiatives.

As the Groeningen gas field nears the end of its productive life, what are the quality and cost considerations in sourcing replacement supply? The UK’s Agricultural sector faces major challenges not only predicated by Brexit, the question is which subsectors and what factors will determine survival rates.

Anecdotal evidence points to the freight sector creating a lot of stress for the UK rail network, above all via all too prevalent passenger network delays, with a negative impact on the economy. Finally we take a look at Natixis vs. Marex and Access World Logistics ruling, and how it impacts commodity financing, logistics and a broad array of stakeholders

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