The Ghost in the Machine Q2 2023

Welcome to the Q2 2023 edition of the Ghost In The Machine

Welcome to the Q2 edition of the Ghost In The Machine, as the war in Ukraine becomes ever more entrenched and ever more brutal, and much of the world economy appears to be at best limping along, with little in the way of clarity on the outlook emerging.
This edition takes a close look at the key role of the mining, oil and gas sectors in the energy transition, and the risks posed by upstream investment, governance, fiscal regimes and the threat of resource nationalism.

We revisit prior themes about China’s role and challenges in global commodity markets, ‘the Commodity Supercycle’ and Bitcoin as a store of wealth.

The Sugar market has been on fire for much of the year to date, in contrast to a good many other commodities, so what is the supply and demand outlook, and how does this fit in with the broader reduction in risk appetite for commodities?

Labour markets have tightened sharply in Europe and North America since the pandemic, largely due to a sharp reduction in labour force participation rates, but closer inspection of the US Household Employment survey highlights that counter to pre-pandemic trends, the proportion of women in the labour force has dropped, so why has this happened, and what are the issues that need to be tackled in policy terms.

Workplace ‘banter’ can be a very useful contributor to breaking down barriers in the workplace, and indeed ‘letting off steam’, but recent surveys by CISI and others reveal that it can sometimes be cruel, and move down through incivility and towards bullying, with negative implications for productivity.

AI (artificial intelligence) is a hot topic for both investors and society, and with regulators racing to establish operating and ethical guidelines, it is time to reconsider the broader risks and challenges.

Risk Warning: Investments in Equities, Contracts for Difference (CFDs) in any instrument, Futures, Options, Derivatives and Foreign Exchange can fluctuate in value. Investors should therefore be aware that they may not realise the initial amount invested and may incur additional liabilities. These investments may be subject to above average financial risk of loss. Investors should consider their financial circumstances, investment experience and if it is appropriate to invest. If necessary, seek independent financial advice.

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