For those who read the news on channels and sites based in the United States, it would be easy to understand why a conclusion that financial armageddon is nearing could be drawn.
The government’s apparent subservience to global trends such as punitive national restrictions on travel, work and personal liberty over the past two years (with the execption of a few states such as Florida and Texas) has suddenly given way to the barrage of sanctions being applied to absolutely anything with any Russian contingent, be it citizens walking the streets of New York, large oil companies, banks or companies with Russian shareholders.
The European Union’s member states took an even more draconian approach and have seized the property of many Russian citizens, closed entire banks and businesses, cut off all trade relations with Russia and even attempted to seize privately owned aircraft should it land on European soil.
The markets have responded with the expected volatility, and there has been a significant crash across US indices over the past two weeks.
This crash of the major US stock markets, namely the NASDAQ and S&P500, is now being joined by some of the largest investment companies in the world, the first being Blackrock.
Blackrock shares absolutely crashed in value on Friday as the trading day progressed in New York. This was caused by the company, which is the largest of its type in the world, having to mark down the value of its Russian holdings which had become completely unsellable after sanctions blocked the markets they would ordinarily operate in.
This cost Blackrock $13 billion in losses, which is massive by even their standards.
Despite this, however, the US Dollar has maintained a good position against the Pound. Not even the collapsing US tech stocks, which until now have been a bastion of low-risk sensibility, and a crashing investment market as displayed by Blackrock’s losses have been able to keep the US Dollar from falling against the British Pound.
Today, the GBPUSD pair stands at 1.30, which means that the British Pound has actually depreciated further compared to the US Dollar during the final hours of trading on Friday, and stands this morning at its lowest period in one month.
This demonstrates that the mood among many investors is that despite the US markets having been battered by the country’s sanctions on Russia, it is the European side of the Atlantic which is pushing harder toward disengagement from Russian investment and supply of products, when it is the European side of the Atlantic that is dependent on Russian raw materials, energy products and in some cases investment in financial assets.
It is also the European side of the Atlantic that has imposed the most draconian levels of sanctions against the Russian Federation, and against private individuals with Russian nationality and their property at a time during which there is a cost of living crisis caused by 2 years of lockdowns and an energy price crisis which is now being compounded further by these sanctions.
Many analysts have drawn the conclusion that Britain and parts of Europe are about to be plunged into the worst recession for decades, and many households are about to be burdened with increased costs to the tune of thousands per year.
Factors such as these are bound to affect the value of the sovereign currency. Yes, the United States government has jumped on the bandwagon, but it is Europe that has done so to a larger degree and is more reliant on Russian energy, and is less self-sufficient in terms of other industry sectors than the United States.
Biting off the hand that feeds is a very expensive endeavour.