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Ruffer LLP

October 8, 2020

Whatever one’s outlook, there have been times in 2020 when the markets seemed to echo one’s innermost thoughts, and times when we shout out like Falstaff, that the whole world has gone mad. The bulls and the bears have had their time in the sun, and their time on the dark face of the moon—what follows is a digested diary of our journey through the year 2020 so far.

September 10, 2020

Could a vaccine change market leadership? When will enough doses of FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccine(s) to inoculate 25 million people be distributed in the US? The superforecasters of the Good Judgement Project believe there is a 93% probability we will have an FDA-approved vaccine in a year, and enough of it to inoculate 25 million people in the US. This is up from just 20% in the dark days of April.

Could a vaccine change market leadership? When will enough doses of FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccine(s) to inoculate 25 million people be distributed in the US? The superforecasters of the Good Judgement Project believe there is a 93% probability we will have an FDA-approved vaccine in a year, and enough of it to inoculate 25 million people in the US. This is up from just 20% in the dark days of April.

May 7, 2020

The valuation of financial assets is based on expectations of future returns—but what if the next half century is vastly different from the previous one? Environmental changes are affecting companies and countries in a number of ways. Investors need to understand the key environmental trends and grapple with the implications for geopolitics and markets.

The valuation of financial assets is based on expectations of future returns—but what if the next half century is vastly different from the previous one? Environmental changes are affecting companies and countries in a number of ways. Investors need to understand the key environmental trends and grapple with the implications for geopolitics and markets.

April 29, 2020

Duncan MacInnes, investment director, discusses Covid-19: how it has changed the investment landscape, the impact on the Ruffer portfolio and what could happen next.

Duncan MacInnes, investment director, discusses Covid-19: how it has changed the investment landscape, the impact on the Ruffer portfolio and what could happen next.

This is the first episode of a new series of podcasts, where Ruffer will be exploring the investment universe and sharing their interpretation of what’s going on.

“It’s our view that we are moving through an economic regime change,” MacInnes (pictured) said.

April 9, 2020

The era of monetary dominance is over. Helicopter money signals investment regime changes ahead.

The era of monetary dominance is over. Helicopter money signals investment regime changes ahead.

It was the avalanche we have long feared. From record peak to bear market, the S&P fell faster during the ‘corona crash’ than ever before, as the chart below shows.

At peak turmoil, conventional offsets (bonds, gold) proved flaky friends: investors sold what they could, not what they perhaps should. Specialist crash protections allowed Ruffer portfolios to hold their ground.

April 1, 2020

When the elements speak, elemental forces are unleashed, and it is important, in the middle of this storm, to capture the right tone of voice. Any false attempt to give reassurance, to boast about early success, to bury oneself in clichés, is unhelpful—even worse, it is historic: by the time these words are read, events will have unfolded which make them, as the CD music reviews have it, ‘Of historic interest only’. We are a long way from terra firma; at the time of writing, it’s a case of ‘so far, so good’. If this were a tennis match, all we could say is that we’ve had a decent first set.

March 23, 2020

Seeking to escape the inflation of the 1970s, policymakers have inadvertently engineered an equally powerful deflation machine. Over the past 30 years, this has been mightily reinforced by the transformation of China’s economy and the impact of technology.

Seeking to escape the inflation of the 1970s, policymakers have inadvertently engineered an equally powerful deflation machine. Over the past 30 years, this has been mightily reinforced by the transformation of China’s economy and the impact of technology.

March 12, 2020

February saw concerns over coronavirus truly go global, as cases emerged across Europe and the US, shattering the illusion that this was an infection limited to China.

February saw concerns over coronavirus truly go global, as cases emerged across Europe and the US, shattering the illusion that this was an infection limited to China.

Whilst public safety and containment of the outbreak must clearly be the primary concern, for financial markets the key question is will the virus cause a recession?

February 26, 2020

The epicentre of risk in the financial system has moved. In 2008, it was leverage in the banks. Today, the equivalent risk is in the asset management industry, where a series of interlocking factors have come together to make markets increasingly ‘avalanche prone’. There is an illusion of stability. Low volatility has lulled many to sleep. We believe this will end badly—and are positioning portfolios to protect our clients from the avalanche.

This is the first of two white papers published by our chief investment officer, Henry Maxey, on the current investment climate and where we see the risks. The second paper, Dismantling the Deflation Machine, will be published in March.

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