Political intervention in markets is back
If the 1980s to the 2000s saw the political pendulum swing firmly towards market liberalisation, an opposite shift has been evident since the Great Financial Crisis a decade ago. Impetus for stricter regulatory control and market intervention has multiplied further during the market turmoil of 2020-2022. The Covid-19 pandemic raised government debt to eye-watering levels and highlighted the importance of diversified sources of supply for strategic products and commodities. Subsequent supply chain bottlenecks and energy shortages due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict have placed added pressure on government budgets as they seek to mitigate inflationary pressures. We have seen outright embargos by G7 nations on Russian commodity imports, financial sanctions, a Russian pipeline gas blockade on Europe, strategic petroleum stock draws aimed at capping pump fuel prices in the US and unprecedented government interventions in energy markets, notably in the G7 and EU.