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      • The Peaceful Transition of Power?

        17 December 2020   |  

        With the US election almost officially behind us, it’s an opportune time to discuss politics. Ha! Just kidding. Let’s talk value stocks, which peacefully assumed power on November 9, 2020, with Pfizer’s vaccine announcement

      • OPEC Anticipates Economic Recovery

        16 December 2020   |  

        A common refrain in 2020: Oil prices took a massive hit this year. Indeed, the US crude oil futures markets went haywire in April when WTI prices went negative—an anomaly owing to scarce storage. The spot price for Brent crude, the global benchmark, approached $10/barrel in April. This cratering followed a devastating one-two punch in early 2020. As for many other commodities, demand for hydrocarbons effectively halted amid COVID-19-induced economic shutdowns. But Saudi Arabia and Russia simultaneously ramped up production as they engaged in an ill-fated (ill-timed, certainly) oil price war. As the world slowly climbs out of economic malaise—particularly China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer—and OPEC relations return to something resembling normalcy, it seems logical to expect oil markets to also return to normal. As is often the case, reality is likely to prove slightly more complicated.

      • Quasi-Money: The Hunch-Buck of the ECB

        10 December 2020   |  

        If ever a company’s president and most senior executive publicly expresses a hunch about something that company might well do, it’s notable. Even more so when the c-suite officer is Madame Lagarde of the European Central Bank (ECB), who coyly alluded to the adoption of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Regarding a crypto coin for the euro zone, she said, “My hunch is that it will come.… If it’s cheaper, faster, more secure for the users then we should explore it. If it’s going to contribute to a better monetary sovereignty, a better autonomy for the euro area, I think we should explore it.” But is a CBDC faster, cheaper, more secure? Would it contribute to monetary sovereignty and euro-area autonomy? What are those things, anyway?

      • Brexit Nears a Real Deadline

        03 December 2020   |  

        To date, deadlines around Brexit haven’t actually proven to be deadlines as such—they’ve been at best guidelines. But with December 31 around the corner, the risk the UK and EU will henceforth operate under the rather tariff-heavy World Trade Organization rules looms. Still at issue are three major sticking points.

      • The Still-Murky Global Trade Waters

        24 November 2020   |  

        There’s been something of a trend in recent years away from trade pacts among large blocs and toward more bilateral agreements. Naturally, there are notable exceptions—the renegotiated NAFTA and the recently agreed Asia Pacific pact jump immediately to mind—but relative to the number of recently agreed bilateral treaties, the momentum seems to have swung in favor of the latter. Perhaps because bilateral agreements are easier to hammer out—a potentially significant factor in an overall tenser geopolitical environment. Whether it’s that simple or something deeper is at work is up for debate—which we’ll leave to the political scientists—but with some big political shifts among major countries in the offing (namely, the US, China, and the UK), it’s worth evaluating the potential direction of future trade deals as we head into 2021.

      • China’s Next Five Years

        10 November 2020   |  

        One of the more surprising (though not entirely unanticipated) announcements from China’s recent Fifth Plenum outlining its five-year plan for the country’s economy was that the country would no longer provide a target GDP growth rate as it has historically done. While some observers may view it as a signal the country is decreasingly able to generate the heady growth rates of years past, it’s worth considering alternate possibilities. Namely, a shift in focus from absolute growth toward quality of growth—a move with significant implications.

      • Supply/Demand: The COVID Economy

        02 November 2020   |  

        Supply/Demand is a semi-regular feature of the Artisan Canvas rounding up interesting and quirky subjects from across the Internet with a focus on economic and business trends. A good rule of thumb among the Artisan Canvas editorial staff is “never reason from a price change.” With that in mind, our latest edition of Supply/Demand.

        As consumption habits have dramatically shifted amid the pandemic, demand for some seemingly out-of-the-ordinary goods and services has spiked. Whether these behavioral changes prove lasting, only time will tell.

      • Beneath the Equities Rally’s Hood

        30 October 2020   |  

        A cursory glance at major global equity indices shows a pretty clear V-shaped recovery—with a total return of 1.6% in the S&P 500® Index from February 19, 2020 through October 26 and similar pictures in the Russell 2000 and the MSCI ACWI ex US Indices. So are stocks just invincible? Or considering the available economic data, nascent spikes in COVID cases in Europe, and historically poor corporate earnings, is the market too optimistic? Breaking down the broad indices provides some interesting insights for both the bull and the bear cases.

      • Perspectives on the Trend Toward Stakeholder Capitalism

        26 October 2020   |  

        Beginning in the 1970s, Milton Friedman and his economist colleagues at the University of Chicago successfully steered private enterprises to prioritize the pursuit of profits as their sole social responsibility. While we will not venture to agree or disagree here, several forces are seemingly working together to shift this mindset. Though still in its infancy, our research and work on ESG for the past two years suggest a more balanced “stakeholder primacy” is taking hold. 

      • The Spread of E-Commerce Accelerates in the Pandemic

        19 October 2020   |  

        Featured Author: Jessica Lin
        Jessica Lin is an analyst on the Artisan Partners Sustainable Emerging Markets Team.

        E-commerce was growing markedly faster than overall retail sales before COVID-19, especially in EM. But the global response to COVID-19—drastic containment measures and cautious economic reopenings—led to a surge in online shopping fueled largely by millions of consumers shopping online for the first time. China’s Alibaba reported an increase of 28 million mobile active users in Q2, while Latin American e-commerce company MercadoLibre reported 16 million new active users during the quarter.