We live in turbulent financial times, with the pandemic and its endless shockwaves having upended economies and markets around the world. Even heading into this year, with the pandemic slowly being wrestled under control, The Guardian predicted a “bumpy ride,” with soaring inflation and rising interest rates likely to fuel volatility across markets. Indeed, many of these markets have remained largely unpredictable, and in some cases downright erratic.
Despite all of this however, major investment markets are still doing a great deal of activity. Solet’s take a look at some of the common forms of personal investment that people are still engaging with regularly in 2022.
Stock market investment is popular for a number of reasons –– chief among them that markets are easily accessed through online brokerages (like IG, Freetrade and Interactive Brokers); major exchanges like the London Stock Exchange tend to be reasonably stable; and the virtually limitless variety of stocks enables strategic diversification of portfolios. These conditions have turned stock investment into one of the most preferred options –– though it’s still important to approach it with a degree of caution.
Careful attention is required to manage even smaller portfolios, and there is always potential for so-called “flash crashes” –– as we saw recently when as $315 billion was lost on European markets due to what Citi termed a “trade error.” This sort of event isn’t common, but it is a risk in stock markets.
Investing in the real estate market is generally a larger commitment as compared to the stock market –– or at least it tends to involve larger amounts devoted to individual assets (as opposed to spread out across a diverse portfolio). However, it also tends to yield greater ROI over time, and in more predictable fashion. Forbes suggests that with the right information on hand (property and mortgage details, rental income, and any monthly or annual rental expenses), you can reasonably calculate expected ROI on an investment.
Beyond the sense of stability this provides, investors also appreciate that property doesn’t easily devalue over time, and that as investors they won’t have to constantly worry about their property and keep an eye on it (as you do with, say, your stock portfolio). For all these reasons, real estate is a popular form of investment –– and getting more so, with Reuters having reported on booming UK property sales amid the pandemic.
Certain commodities like precious metals and some agricultural products are commonly considered to be worthwhile investments. In the current economic climate however, it is energy-related commodities that are responsible for some of the enduring activity. With gas prices skyrocketing around the world (and a recent 39% increase in gas in the UK, according to iNews), some investors have looked to traditional energy commodities –– such as natural gas, crude oil, and even shale oil –– as favourableinvestments. Indeed, UK-based energy giant BP recently announced doubled profits on the basis of “exceptional oil trading.”
This combination of old, reliable assets (precious metals and the like) and active energy markets speaks to why commodity investment remains a fairly popular option.
Forex (or foreign exchange) is the practice of trading currencies from all over the world against one another. And despite the fact that it doesn’t get the headline attention of stocks, real estate, or even cryptocurrency (our next category), it actually represents the largest trading market in the world. According to the latest estimate at FXCM, in fact, the market accounts for some $6.6 trillion (nearly £5.3 trillion) in daily trading volume.
This volume has not taken a hit during the pandemic (or due to its myriad economic consequences), essentially because it sustains itself. Currencies are traded against one another constantly, with investors seeking to profit off of even fractional changes in value. In this way, differences define the market more than long-term strengthening or weakening of individual assets, with traders taking active approaches to capitalizing off of small changes. Thus, even if economies and other markets crash, opportunity remains for savvy forex traders. A “down” market doesn’t mean that currency values cease to fluctuate.
We most certainly can’t talk about personal investment in 2022 without mentioning cryptocurrency. Crypto markets have dominated headlines for a few years now, and a Crypto.com analysis detailed at Yahoo! Finance suggests that there could be one billion global users by the end of 2022. This alone solidifies the notion that crypto remains a common, popular mode of investment despite the economic turmoil the world has experienced of late.
There are a few reasons for the crypto market’s resilience. First, it is still fairly new and trendy, and has proven to be capable of roping in excitable new investors. Second, it has at times been propped up as a potential “safe haven,” the suggestion being that when conventional markets crash, crypto may remain stable or rise. Evidence for this is varied (and certainly inconclusive). Cryptos crashed alongside more or less everything else in the early days of the pandemic, but did rebound fairly quickly, leading to some confidence that the crypto market was particularly worthwhile given the global circumstances.
There are a plethora of popular markets available, and those who are looking to invest in 2022 would do well to consider each one. Bear in mind how global economic uncertainty affects each market, and do careful research regarding your own means and goals with your portfolio. And best of luck to you!
For more on finance and investment, take a look at The Milli Chronicle business section when you get a chance.