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While we ended 2022 with expectations of zero growth, or even a moderate recession, the global economy has surprised us. So much so, that we are now shifting from fears of little to no growth to the complete opposite [...]
“We have to learn that the peace that we dreamed of and that we initially earned after 1990 is not a good that will always be there without loss, but that it can disappear, and that is why we will see a new cold war. We will see a new readiness for defense and we will see a government that follows up big words with actions," said Joachim Gauck, former President of Germany.
What would have been the level of growth in Europe today, had Russia not invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022? What about inflation and interest rate levels? We will never know for sure, but it is clear that this geopolitical event has profoundly changed the energy markets and subsequently, the economic and financial outlook.
So far this year, stock markets have shown their friendly side. Especially European markets which, measured by the Euro STOXX index, have achieved a total return of around 13 percent since the beginning of the year. This is also true of US markets, with a total return of around 3.5 percent for the S&P500 index and 10 percent for the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite index. Various reasons explain these positive performances: towards the end of 2022, the energy supply situation in Europe began to ease.
For more than 50 years, Venture Capital has been one of the main players in financing innovation worldwide. The start-ups financed have contributed to a profound transformation of the economic landscape.
Financial markets got off to a good start in 2023. Since the beginning of the year, the broad US stock index S&P 500 has risen by more than 8% in US dollar terms and the Euro Stoxx 50 by more than 11% in euro terms.
When the global economy was hit by a first wave of inflation in 2021, central banks - with a few exceptions - did not react because this price shock was seen as reversible by itself.
The past year was perceived by most observers as historic. With the war in Ukraine, the sharp rise in inflation, the quick departure from the era of cheap money and the energy shock, there was a cornucopia of burdening factors for investors. In the capital markets, equities fared poorly, losing an average of 15 per cent, but except for overvalued technology stocks, this was not a disaster if compared with other stock market crashes of the recent past.