Financial media have unleashed a torrent of words on what to expect from the G-20 Summit. From Russia and Ukraine on the brink of war to the Saudi prince no one wants to be seen with, there’s a lot to talk about. But it’s the meeting tomorrow night between Presidents Trump and Xi that most analysts see as having the greatest potential for immediate consequences for investors.
I think it’s too unpredictable, however, to tell people what to expect.
The possible outcomes cover the widest possible range:
I don’t see any rational way to put odds on any of these outcomes.
I suspect—and hope!—the third one is pretty unlikely. But Ukraine is being bullied, and it’s going to ask for help. Putin’s not stupid, but he does seem to be a megalomaniac. I can’t say I see how this situation ends peacefully.
Given the many bad ideas that often come out of such summits, I’d count the first outcome as a win. But is it the most likely? I can’t honestly say.
What I can say is that the opposite of the second outcome is also possible: some sort of trade agreement between the US and China could be announced. Again, I can’t put odds on this, but it wouldn’t have to be much of an agreement to send global markets off to the races. Even an agreement to work harder on getting to an agreement would likely boost markets around the world—including commodity markets.
But precisely because I’d like to see something like this happen, I’m not letting myself expect it. That’s not just to avoid disappointment. If I were to let myself expect anything, I might speculate accordingly… though without being able to assess the odds, I’d have to call it a blind gamble.
Better to expect nothing, be surprised by nothing, and draw up battle plans for Tax Loss Season next month once all the cards are on the table.
Friday, November 30, 10:00am, EDT, 2018