So this is 2020…
The new decade dawns with welcome confirmation that for the first time in its history zero-carbon energy became the UK’s biggest source of electricity generation last year, making 2019 the cleanest year on record. 53% of Britain’s energy was created without turning coal and gas into smoke and fumes, and that has to be a good thing: the UK has already eaten up half its allotted time to becoming a zero-carbon economy by 2050. But there again, Brexit is (finally) looming at the end of the month and the CBI has warned a no-deal exit will be a “tripwire to economic chaos”: the chances of Boris Johnson actually cutting a deal have already been heavily discounted by currency markets with even the announcement he was about to start talks with the Ursula Von Der Leyden causing sterling to drop a cent on the Euro (and it was already down two cents down on its post-election high).
And for those looking to the United States for salvation, Donald Trump, in his inarticulate fashion, has been characteristically blunt: “To be honest with you, this deal, under certain aspects of the deal, you can’t do it. You can’t trade. We can’t make a trade deal with the U.K.” So don’t hold your breath. And even if the President’s orange tones disappear from our screens forever after the election this autumn, don’t count on any later deal leaving the NHS intact or supermarket chickens unchlorinated, and don’t count on it taking any less than the forty-eight years the US has already been negotiating with India, its ninth biggest trading partner (the UK is seventh).
Added to which, of course, Mr. Trump is a man of coal and smoke having withdrawn the US from the Paris Climate Accords in June 2017, so any news of UK progress towards zero carbon emissions is unlikely to cause even the remotest flicker on his Twitter screen.
But hang on a moment…it’s not all gloom and doom, there’s a whole world out there outside the distorting mirrors of Boris and Brexit and Trump.
For a start, one country will certainly be raising a cheer at the news of last year’s reduced emissions in the UK, and that’s India.
The subcontinent is now the world’s largest renewables auctions market and it was ranked first (for the first time) in Bloomberg’s 2019 Climatescope Report. India’s clean energy policies, alternative power infrastructure, and emissions policies bring it in top of 103 countries worldwide and that is also something to celebrate as we creep into the New Year. Just Like the President, Bloomberg were unequivocal in their views, if a little more articulate: “The Indian market is home to one of the world’s most ambitious renewable energy targets and has held the largest ever auction for clean power generation”: so expect the New Year, and the New Decade to mark an entrenchment in India’s position as the global renewables superpower. That will be good for all of us and good for the subcontinent’s economy too.
And despite all that muddle-headed gloom from the IMF last year, India still goes into the New Year with forecast GDP growth of 6.6% (ironically that’s an IMF figure) in addition to remaining the fastest-growing large economy in the World, so expect to see that growth entrenched over the coming year: especially when compared with the US whose economy is projected to slow to 2% over the same period and the UK which is forecast to turn in a mere 1.6% IF Boris gets his deal…but don’t hold your breath on that either.
So there are certainly bright spots to look out for in the year ahead, but in global terms, it’s a game of two halves and you have to know where to look…
Nobody understands the fundamentals of the Indian economy better than Red Ribbon Asset Management, which has placed the subcontinent at the heart of its investment strategies since the company was founded more than a decade ago. Drawing on unrivalled knowledge of local markets with an expert team of more than a hundred advisers working in India’s economic hotspots, Red Ribbon offers unique opportunities to share in this potential.
And whatever your plans and hopes are for 2020 we here are Red Ribbon wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year!
I’m looking forward to what 2020 will bring, and it will come as no surprise to anyone that I’m keeping a particularly close eye on developments on the subcontinent where India’s economy continues to show signs of robust resilience in the face of 2019’s sprinklings of year-end gloom. As I write this, the Nifty Index is running at a post-election high and India, as the article points out, is still the fastest-growing large economy on the planet so that resilience is likely to continue and entrench. I imagine Boris Johnson and Donald Trump would both give their eyeteeth for GDP Growth of only 6.6%.
So whatever lies ahead in 2020, it’s very unlikely to be dull…
I wish all our investors and regulars to this site a very happy and prosperous New Year!