Energy markets were thrown into turmoil late in February as markets began to brace for and then react to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the uncertainty it would mean for oil and gas prices across a European market already dealing with shortages. The western world has reacted by announcing a raft of sanctions on Russia and it remains to be seen whether this will ratchet up to include Russian oil and gas companies which would further reduce the supply to Europe. Volatility will remain high as the uncertain situation unfolds meaning short term moves will be harder to predict.
Chart 1: Energy markets spike on uncertainty
Wheat prices rose by more than 5% at the end of February as world begins to unravel where the impact will be most felt from the war in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine combined account for over a quarter of the worlds wheat supply and are responsible for more than 80% of global sunflower oil supplies. Wheat futures in the US traded at their highest levels since 2009 as closures to ports and rail networks in Ukraine bring a sudden halt to agriculture exports which may persist for some time.
Chart 2: Wheat hits highest price since 2009
Private capital fundraising activity across all private market strategies raised $1.2 trillion during 2021. Traditionally, private equity (PE) has led fundraising in terms of capital raised at the strategy level, which was again the case in 2021, as PE took in 38.6% of commitments. The number two strategy, venture capital (VC), raised only 18.1% of the year’s total. Whilst the level of private capital raised during 2021 is in line with 2020, the number of funds is significantly lower as record fund sizes get more attention than the vast majority of funds that are much smaller.
Chart 3: Private capital raises fewer but larger funds