Investors need nerves of steel in 2019. All the current economic, business and social commentary is of warning lights, canaries in coal mines and omens of doom; and the evidence of a hard landing is mounting: The US yield curve has inverted, whereby it is cheaper to lend short term to the US government than long – historically an uncannily accurate predictor of recession. The price of gold, that most traditional of safe havens, has spiked. The war of words between China and the USA has become a full blown trade war and is starting to look ominously like a new Cold War. Fully 25% of all outstanding sovereign and corporate debt – some $16 trillion – is now paying negative rates.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, France, Germany, China and Japan have all recently reported markedly slowing economies. Hong Kong remains on a political and social knife edge. The UK lurches from one Brexit shambles to the next. In emerging markets, the outlook is just as gloomy: India and Pakistan remain at loggerheads over Kashmir. Brazil’s president was forced into a humiliating climbdown over fires in the Amazon by the G7, and, closer to home, the Gulf economies remain at the mercy of a stubbornly low oil price.
Given this relentless stream of negative news and indicators, and the growing crescendo of predictions of a global recession, what is the Investor Relations Officer to do? How should companies think about IR when their investors seem to be running for the hills?
Here are ten tips to keep your head when all around are losing theirs: