MCA’s latest FD Leaders event on 29 November featured Alex White, partner at Flint Global, discussing the macro-economic climate and wider political concerns along with their impact on the sector.

With fellow speaker Graeme Smith, MD, AlixPartners, White spoke on quantitative tightening and difficult monetary conditions in the coming years, as well as the trends seen by Flint Global.

“Analysts are exhibiting a much greater degree of unanimity than they usually do,” he said. “The view is that we’re in for a long, slow, miserable recession rather than a short, sharp, dramatic one.

“15 years of cheap money and cheap credit are coming to an end; we’re entering 18 months of difficult monetary conditions, possibly much longer.”

Despite the economic downturn, White also predicted the “art of stockpicking” is expected to return.

“Really well run companies will stand out more than in the past,” he added.

With the anticipated slowdown in US interest rate increases, White also said the weakening dollar as well as a potential change in China’s zero Covid policy could help support the economy with lower labour and production costs.

“We’re unlikely to get a shock as dramatic as the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Formerly chief political analyst at JP Morgan, White further discussed the energy crisis.

“Our take is that we’re likely to get a relatively centrist Labour government in 18 months,” he said. “Right now, energy costs in Europe are five to eight times more than in the US.

“I don’t think we can credibly go into 2024 with that energy cost profile. It’s an unsustainable position, so it won’t be sustained.”