The advances in technology have led to us being able to quickly find out about new variants of the Corona virus and also propagate some fear and some misinformation relating to the same at the speed of thought.
We are lucky that our scientists work so hard to ensure that we stay on top of the evolution of the virus and understand the risks and remedies as soon as possible. The Omicron variety has been causing some degree of panic - while in situations like Covid-19 where it is better to be safe and early rather than sorry and late - it is good that we are back on our guard about border control and meeting people in groups. However, we should remember that despite anything being said about the efficacy, or lack thereof, of the current vaccines for the new strain of the virus, we cannot let our guard down thinking there is no hope with the vaccines, and vaccinations are a must as they and masks / social distancing are the best defence against Covid-19.
The next year is likely to see increased volatility and confusion on global markets and businesses. The US Federal Reserve is worried about inflation but at the same time would like to remain accommodative for any new coronavirus strain related economic weakness. The confusion around global liquidity will keep markets on the edge and volatility high, and supply chain disruptions and commodity prices shall also impact business margins and cash flows.
While we have seen a great boost to margins from an uptick in sales of the organized players and also some aggressive cost cutting by them through the lockdowns, with elevated prices of inputs, it is becoming a challenging environment to conduct business with long term pricing and delivery contracts. Margins for a number of businesses may shrink next year - keep an eye on your costs and working capital requirements.
The last 18 months were largely a one way street in markets and businesses due to a variety of government mandated tail winds supporting the businesses. Large IPOs have come to tap the public markets and start ups have raised copious amounts of capital at high valuations. The business and consumer landscape has changed dramatically in this period and it may continue to evolve at a rapid pace in the coming months. Be mindful to the changes and adapt accordingly - there are large opportunities to tap - we just need to be ready and willing to see them and tap them.