Rosemary Scallon, better known as Dana, was the winner of Eurovision in 1970 with “All kinds of Everything”. Hers was a first win for Ireland on the way to seven titles, one better than arch Eurovision rivals Sweden! While I suspect my UK audience are not huge Eurovision fans, given Ukraine’s victory this year and an unlucky, but very popular, UK runner up perhaps I can run with the theme. For me, 2022 has been a year of all kinds of everything. When you take a moment to recount the events it is just extraordinary which, in itself, is remarkable after the most extraordinary few years. Extraordinary has arguably lost its meaning.
Here are my 12 all kinds of everything…
1. Covid... the remaining legal Covid restrictions were lifted by the UK government on February 24th, these were in place since the move to Plan B was announced in December 2021. China’s Covid restrictions stretched through the year provoking demonstrations across major cities and university campuses. Holding up a blank white sheet of paper became the symbol of dissent.
2. War… there was little time to reflect on the ending of Covid rules in the UK as that very day Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine with airstrikes hitting cities across the country. Peace did break out in June, but not in Ukraine. Canada and Denmark ended their long-running dispute over Hans Island known as the Whisky War. Hans Island is a 1.3 sqm rock in the arctic, between Canada and Greenland.
3. Weather… heatwaves struck the UK and while it wasn’t the hottest summer on record (ranking 7th in 364 years), we did experience the highest daily maximum temperature (hitting 39°C at Heathrow). Devastating floods hit Pakistan, with some climate models estimating that rainfall was 50% more intense due to climate change.
4. Politics… July wasn’t just hot at Heathrow Airport, political heat rose in Downing Street as the resignation of 57 ministers by the morning of the 7th forced Boris Johnson to resign. Unfortunately July was not peak political temperature.
5. Energy… August witnessed record energy prices. German baseload electricity forward prices, for delivery in 2023, jumped 120% having already risen 200% to the end of July. European gas prices jumped 325%. Combined with supply bottlenecks and labour shortages, inflation hit 10%. Many Central banks raced to tighten.
6. Death… September saw the death of Queen Elizabeth II, after 70 years on the throne. The funeral was said to be the most expensive single-day event in British history. Former prime minster of Japan, Shinzo Abe, was assassinated, and motivation for the killing was linked to the “Moonies”
7. Budgets… the sombre mood around the Queen’s passing, turned to utter bedlam at month end with the introduction of the mini budget. Market moves around UK government gilts broke innumerable records. The 50-year UK gilt experienced a 40% range in price movement on September 28th. Sterling touched 1.035 against the US dollar on the 26th, breaching the lows of 1985. LDI had 15 minutes of infamy.
8. Politics again… October… peak political chaos… the fourth Chancellor in four months, the third Prime Minister in four months, the fourth Home Secretary in less than two months, with Suella Braverman reappointed to the post she was sacked from six days earlier. Charles III has now had two prime ministers during his reign and, under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method (DLS), is ahead of his mother (Liz Truss was her 15th prime minster). The DLS method is well known to Irish cricket fans as it resulted in an Ireland win over England, the subsequent winners of this year’s T20 World Cup. President Xi secured a third term, his total control emphasised with the dramatic removal of former president Hu Jintao from the closing session of the 20th Congress of the CCP.
9. Markets… Meta (Facebook) stock falls 74% for the year to November 3rd and marks a horrible time for the FAANG stocks (Netflix -55%, Amazon -46%, Apple -21%, Alphabet -42%). Pearson is the best performing stock in the FTSE 100 (+52%), Ocado the worst (-60%). Value outperforms growth, and the UK delivers positive returns against a sea of red for other equity markets.
10. Crypto… A guy who many may not have heard of (including the author), Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), blew-up the cryptocurrency world filing for bankruptcy on November 11th. While in the process he also appears to have badly damaged a social movement called Effective Altruism (EA).
11. Sport… a world cup in Qatar… with big upsets, Japan beating Germany, Saudi Arabia beating Argentina, Morocco becoming the big giant killers, (beating Belgium Spain and Portugal). England did themselves proud with impressive performances, however, a penalty miss was once again part of the story.
12. And the rest… sprinkled through the year were other notable events. The diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China, Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter for $44 billion and Lula da Silva, released from prison at the end of 2019, once again becomes president of Brazil. Widespread anti-regime protests in Iran. COP27 teeters on the edge of abandoning the 1.5° climate warming goal. A coup plot is uncovered in Germany. The US yield curve at its most inverted since 1981.
Certainly, a year with all kinds of everything, but rather than Dana’s lyrics, the year felt more in tune with Ukraine’s winning song, Stefania, with its mix of folk and rap, breakdancing and eclectic costumes.
On that ‘note’ I wish you a very happy and relaxed holiday and I wish you strength and best wishes for what may come in 2023.
 Source: Bloomberg as at 12th December 2022
 Source: Bloomberg as at 12th December 2022
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