The Ghost in the Machine Q4 2020: Pandemic, Uncertainty, Equity Strategy, Central Banks, Grains

Welcome to December 2020 edition of the Ghost In The Machine. 

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Welcome to final 2020 edition of the Ghost In The Machine, which is broadly themed around reviews of the impact of the Covid-19 on economies and markets, while looking ahead to what will hopefully be a brighter and better new year.

In the agricultural commodity arena, it is fair to say that weather and other disruptions prompted what proved to be a very sharp reassessment of the supply and demand outlook which had formed as the initial shock of the pandemic ebbed, we take a closer look at how this has impacted grains, livestock and sugar, and how this has also prompted a sharp increase in non-commercial (funds) flows into many sectors.

There is also an evaluation of how the pandemic has or has not accelerated the overarching trends and progress towards Decarbonization, Decentralisation and Digitalization.

China’s demand for raw materials and commodities has long been a key factor in price formation, the launch of the INE yuan denominated Shanghai copper contract set to signal a further shift east for the market. Uncertainty remains the watchword for investors, but it may be wiser for equity investors to focus more on what is known in formulating investment decisions to ‘catch the wave’ of the post pandemic recovery, particularly as the maxim of ‘not fighting the Fed’ appears to have never been truer.

The volatile rally in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has perhaps distracted markets’ attention somewhat from the rather more critical issue of how central banks and regulators deal with the pandemic accelerated shift to digital payments and the challenges posed by ‘big tech’, with China offering an interesting perspective. Finally there is a look at how agriculture interacts with the world of cinema in the context of a new film.

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