The Ghost in the Machine Q1 2021: Recovery, Pandemic, Sustainability, Agriculture, QE Gamestop.

Welcome to March 2021 edition of the Ghost In The Machine. 

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Welcome to the March 2021 edition of the Ghost In The Machine, which as ever looks at a broad spectrum of topical issues from ESG investing, cryptocurrencies and financial flash mobs to central bank policy challenges and commodity super cycle prospects.

The trend towards ESG investing has been accelerated by the pandemic, but is also facing an array of challenges about definitions, a rapidly evolving regulatory backdrop, with considerable divergence between the UK and EU. 

As part of efforts towards a green economic recovery, Sustain’s Fringe Farming project is exploring ways to enable agroecological farming at the edge of cities, bringing food production closer to the urban consumer.

The Covid-19 vaccine roll-out has boosted recovery hopes, fuelling a sharp rally in most commodity prices, but is this really the start of a new ‘super cycle’, and what are the specific implications for the sugar market?

Markets have long embraced central banks’ QE backstops and liquidity provisions, but now appear to be questioning the wisdom of current forward policy guidance, perhaps fearing that central banks may fall into a trap of their own making. US equities continue to make new highs, but does the positive technical momentum fit with the fundamental backdrop? Speculative bubble rollercoaster moves in single stocks such as Gamestop driven by retail flows have captured the attention of markets’ chattering classes, the media and latterly regulators, we take a look at the underlying drivers of this ‘disruption’, and how this may signal a more fundamental shift in the way that markets operate. 

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have moved from being dismissed by sceptics as a speculative sideshow towards the realm of ‘acceptable investments’ for banks and funds, so does the comparison with gold have
any merit?

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