Convinced of uncertainty

Published on 30-06-2020 12:30:40


With US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell summing up the future as ‘extraordinarily uncertain’, our certainty of uncertainty is the one thing uniting us all.

Or is it? The MSCI All Country Index is up 18% this quarter – its steepest rise in 11 years, following its worst quarter since 2008.

What else is certain? Shell is writing down its assets by up to $22bn because it thinks it knows the mid- and long-term price of oil and gas. And Max Factor’s parent company is sure enough to splash out $200m for a minority stake in KKW Beauty, making Kim Kardashian almost a paper billionaire. Even Cirque du Soleil plans to rehire most of the 3,480 staff it is laying off as it restructures.

UK businesses are still gloomy, though slightly less pessimistic than they were last month. And Leicester folk are still going to be in lockdown. Boris also seems convinced that the Tories should be converted back to Keynesian economics.

Elsewhere, the US definitely doesn’t like what’s happening in Hong Kong. But, even though China is manufacturing more, is anyone buying it? And will close to $1bn spent on cybersecurity make Australia feel less threatened by China?

Doubts are creeping in at US food delivery service Postmates, which seems unsure whether it wants to be bought or go public. Maybe that’s not a surprise, with fear-induced corporate deal-making chaos now topping $87bn, as deals are either off, in court, in limbo, delayed or being renegotiated.

Rich people seem to be confused that they’re broke and we’re not even sure if tech will create an age of freedom or make civilisation collapse – though you might live to see more of the future than you expect.

But don’t despair. Psychologists have concluded that we need to be more ignorant to be more certain. So that must mean that the more we know, the less we can be sure. Or does it?

Until tomorrow,

The Stream Team

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