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A new investment playbook

The regime of greater economic and market volatility is playing out – and not going away. Central banks won’t ride to the rescue in recession, contrary to what investors have come to expect. This regime requires a new investment playbook. It involves more frequent portfolio changes and more granular views that go beyond broad asset classes.

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

Investment themes


Pricing the damage

Central banks are deliberately causing recession by overtightening policy to tame inflation, in our view. That makes recession foretold. What matters: our view on the pricing of economic damage and our assessment of market risk sentiment.


Rethinking bonds

We see higher yields as a gift to investors long starved of income in bonds. And investors don’t have to go far up the fixed income risk spectrum to receive it.


Living with inflation

Long-term trends of the new regime, such as aging workforces and geopolitical fragmentation, will keep inflation persistently above pre-pandemic levels, in our view.

This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or financial product or to adopt any investment strategy. The opinions expressed are as of November 2022 and may change as subsequent conditions vary.

Discover how we break down our key themes and outlook for 2023

Karim Chedid: Hi, welcome to Around the World: Spotlight on our 2023 Outlook. Over 2022, we’ve seen a new regime of greater macro and market volatility play out, and we don’t think it’s changing any time soon. In this environment, we think a new investment playbook is needed: we believe it’s time for investors to prepare to make more frequent portfolio changes, and get more granular with views. I’m joined by Ann-Katrin Petersen, senior investment strategist at the BlackRock Investment Institute, who will walk us through BlackRock’s new investment themes for 2023.

Ann-Katrin Petersen: Thanks Karim. In the new regime, central bankers can’t ride to the rescue when growth slows, as they have in the past. They are overtightening policy to try to rein in persistent inflation, causing recessions in the process. We expect inflation to cool over time, but stay persistently higher than central banks’ 2% targets.
We think what matters most is how much of the economic damage is already reflected in market pricing, so our first investment theme is ‘pricing the damage’. We’ll be keeping a close eye to see when and where it may be time to dial risk back up.

The new regime also calls for ‘rethinking bonds’, and that’s our second theme. 2022 has taught us that long-term bonds don’t work well as portfolio diversifiers in an environment of higher inflation and volatility. With higher yields all around, we like bonds for income, especially investment grade credit.

Our third theme is ‘living with inflation’. In the new regime, we see several long-term structural drivers supporting persistent inflation. This means that what worked for investors in past recessions won’t work now, in our view: the portfolio implications are big, and navigating markets in 2023 will require more frequent portfolio changes.

Karim Chedid: Thanks, Ann-Katrin.

In theme 1, we’re pricing damages to understand whether – and where – it might be time to dial up risk. We’re looking for opportunities to turn positive – like in banks and energy– as well as more granular exposures that may help us build portfolio defence, like the healthcare sector and momentum factor. 

We’re rethinking fixed income in theme 2, bonds for income instead of bonds for ballast. We prefer an up-in-quality approach, with a high-conviction overweight to investment grade credit, but we see pockets of opportunity in high yield, too. In government bonds, we prefer inflation-linked and short dated exposures, as we still see challenges facing long-term bonds.

Finally, in our third theme, we’re learning to live with inflation by looking to diversify our sources of return, and position for inflation risks. We like infrastructure, which may offer diversification benefits in portfolios – and provide a buffer against inflation through stable income. Commodities and natural resources, including agribusiness, may also act as a portfolio diversifier, and look set to benefit from structural supply-demand imbalances. 

Thank you for joining, and for more, please see our 2023 Outlook and Implementation Guide at the link below.

Karim Chedid, Head of EMEA iShares Investment Strategy and Ann-Katrin Petersen, Senior Investment Strategist for the BlackRock Investment Institute, break down our key themes and outlook for 2023.

Discover our key themes for the 2023 global outlook
Read the latest views from BII across asset classes, as we take stock of recent events and their potential implications for tactical and strategic allocations.
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How to implement our investment ideas in your portfolio

Download the 2023 EMEA implementation guide
Explore our implementation ideas and look at how investors could position, with an outcome-orientated approach to the key investment themes laid out in the BlackRock Investment Institute’s 2023 global outlook.
Q1 2023 EMEA implementation guide

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Discover how BlackRock’s products could help you adjust your portfolio to a new world of heightened macro volatility. Navigate our range of iShares and BlackRock funds.

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