I have long enjoyed using tropes and phrases from popular culture in explaining how things work in the world of finance. As a person who binge-watched Game of Thrones during the pandemic, I couldn’t help but think that current circumstances are ideal for trotting out an oft-used phase that doubled as the title for episode one, season one – Winter is Coming.
According to Wikipedia, “Winter Is Coming” is the motto of House Stark, one of the Great Houses of Westeros. The meaning behind these words is one of warning and constant vigilance. The Starks, being the lords of the North, strive to always be prepared for the coming of winter, which hits their lands the hardest.
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, the weather is about to turn colder. That’s the obvious metaphor. Furthermore, there have been several reports of how the winter of 2021-22 is likely to be uncommonly cold and that due to supply chain bottlenecks and asynchronous production, there may well be an increase in energy costs in the winter that is coming. That, too, is a warning that counsels vigilance considering what might be around the corner. From a purely economic perspective, the colder the winter is, the harsher it is likely to be on our pocketbooks.
The third interpretation of the phrase is more macro in nature…. and more ominous, too. The word ‘winter’ is often used to describe any state that is cold, disappointing, and prolonged. Stock markets around the world look dangerously ‘hot’ these days and a cooling off might well be in order. In addition, the cooling off might last longer than many expect. Winter is Coming. Stay vigilant.