Jason Voss, CFA, shares his choices for Weekend Reads for Investors. Included among his selections are an update on a classic game theory problem, a surprising story about a dealer of Japanese government bonds, and an exploration of quantum physics in strange places.
Tensions resulting from economic sanctions and countersanctions by the West and Russia, an outcome of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, seem to be escalating. Are global businesses and investors largely unprepared for such geopolitical risks?
In a world of bewildering complexity, an understanding of the ways in which people, power, personal preferences and geography influence future trends is essential. Furthermore, a simple geopolitical framework can lead to a better understanding of the investment implications of complex world events.
With the heady returns delivered by most major financial markets in 2013 in the rear view mirror, investors are now tasked with worrying about what could go wrong in the year ahead. A plurality of respondents to our global poll, 36%, cited political or geo-political risks (including government stasis or military conflict) as the greatest threats to market stability, sentiment almost certainly influenced by chronic political dysfunction in Washington, D.C., ongoing unrest in the Middle East, and growing tensions in Asia Pacific.
Mutual funds that invest in emerging markets have reportedly seen more than $2 billion in outflows so far in 2013, while funds focused on frontier markets have seen assets under management swell by more than $1.5 billion in the year to date. What explains this divergence in fortunes? The answer seems to be related to the comparative degree of integration in the global economy and appetite for foreign capital.
Robert Johnston, director of the global energy and natural resources practice at Eurasia Group, addresses the prospects for the United States becoming a natural gas “superpower,” and the global geopolitical and investment implications of the US shale energy boom.
Willis Sparks discussed whether we are likely to see more market-moving turmoil in the US, Europe, and the Arab world over the next decade and why geopolitics is increasingly becoming a factor in investment decisions.
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