Q2 | 2022

Global Macro Outlook:

an unexpected turn of events

We examine how the Russia-Ukraine conflict might shape macro trends and influence allocation decisions.

Macroeconomic strategy, multi-asset solutions team

A time of change: allocation implications

Just as we were looking to a return to some semblance of postpandemic normalcy, the Ukraine conflict and resulting geopolitical stress have further complicated the macro landscape. The extended disruption to global supply chains and surge in commodity prices mean that major central banks now face the near impossible task of tamping down inflation without squeezing real incomes or dampening growth. While we believe that policymakers' concerns over high inflation will ultimately give way to worries about slower growth, and that a dovish pivot will likely materialize in Q3, the path there isn't likely to be smooth. In this edition of Global Macro Outlook, we outline the strategic macro themes that are taking place and assess their potential implications for asset allocation.

Timeline of select market-relevant events in Q1 that have contributed to our views¹


  1. February 21, 2022

    Russia issues a presidential decree recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states and deploys Russian troops into the region

  2. February 22, 2022

    The United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom announce sanctions targeting Russian lawmakers and banks after Russia sent troops into Ukraine; Germany halts the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project

  3. February 23, 2022

    Oil prices surge, with the international benchmark Brent crude rising above US$100 a barrel for the first time since 2014; the S&P 500 Index slips into correction territory, hitting a 14-month low²

  4. February 26–27, 2022

    The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan announce an agreement to remove some Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system to prevent Russia's central bank from accessing its foreign currency reserves to undermine sanctions

  5. February 28, 2022

    Russia imposes capital controls, banning Russian individuals and firms from transferring funds abroad, including fund transfers to service foreign loans; Switzerland breaks its 207-year policy of neutrality by adopting sanctions that the European Union has imposed on Russian entities

  6. March 8, 2022

    Russia introduces export bans on covering various sectors (e.g., agriculture, medical) until the end of 2022; the European Commission reveals plans to reduce European Union member states' dependence on Russian energy

  7. March 16–17, 2022

    The U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates by 25 basis points and signals that there could be six more rate hikes in 2022; the Bank of England raises interest rates by 25 basis points for the second time this year

1 Based on events that have taken place as of March 31, 2022. Bloomberg, as of March 23, 2022.

Previous editions of Global Macro Outlook

Related viewpoints

Positioning in the looming stagflation environment

Geopolitical tensions are increasingly clouding the global growth outlook, prompting investors to reassess their portfolios. We share our latest asset allocation view.
Read more

A widespread health crisis such as a global pandemic could cause substantial market volatility, exchange-trading suspensions and closures, and affect portfolio performance. For example, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has resulted in significant disruptions to global business activity. The impact of a health crisis and other epidemics and pandemics that may arise in the future could affect the global economy in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. A health crisis may exacerbate other preexisting political, social, and economic risks. Any such impact could adversely affect the portfolio’s performance, resulting in losses to your investment.

Investing involves risks, including the potential loss of principal. Financial markets are volatile and can fluctuate significantly in response to company, industry, political, regulatory, market, or economic developments. These risks are magnified for investments made in emerging markets. Currency risk is the risk that fluctuations in exchange rates may adversely affect the value of a portfolio’s investments.

The information provided does not take into account the suitability, investment objectives, financial situation, or particular needs of any specific person. You should consider the suitability of any type of investment for your circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice.

This material is intended for the exclusive use of recipients in jurisdictions who are allowed to receive the material under their applicable law. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are subject to change without notice. Our investment teams may hold different views and make different investment decisions. These opinions may not necessarily reflect the views of Manulife Investment Management or its affiliates. The information and/or analysis contained in this material has been compiled or arrived at from sources believed to be reliable, but Manulife Investment Management does not make any representation as to their accuracy, correctness, usefulness, or completeness and does not accept liability for any loss arising from the use of the information and/or analysis contained. The information in this material may contain projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events, targets, management discipline, or other expectations, and is only current as of the date indicated. The information in this document, including statements concerning financial market trends, are based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons. Manulife Investment Management disclaims any responsibility to update such information.

Neither Manulife Investment Management or its affiliates, nor any of their directors, officers or employees shall assume any liability or responsibility for any direct or indirect loss or damage or any other consequence of any person acting or not acting in reliance on the information contained here.  All overviews and commentary are intended to be general in nature and for current interest. While helpful, these overviews are no substitute for professional tax, investment or legal advice. Clients should seek professional advice for their particular situation. Neither Manulife, Manulife Investment Management, nor any of their affiliates or representatives is providing tax, investment or legal advice. This material was prepared solely for informational purposes, does not constitute a recommendation, professional advice, an offer or an invitation by or on behalf of Manulife Investment Management to any person to buy or sell any security or adopt any investment strategy, and is no indication of trading intent in any fund or account managed by Manulife Investment Management. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee returns or eliminate risk in any market environment. Diversification or asset allocation does not guarantee a profit or protect against the risk of loss in any market. Unless otherwise specified, all data is sourced from Manulife Investment Management. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Manulife Investment Management

Manulife Investment Management is the global wealth and asset management segment of Manulife Financial Corporation. We draw on more than a century of financial stewardship to partner with clients across our institutional, retail, and retirement businesses globally. Our specialist approach to money management includes the highly differentiated strategies of our fixed-income, specialized equity, multi-asset solutions, and private markets teams—along with access to specialized, unaffiliated asset managers from around the world through our multimanager model.

This material has not been reviewed by, and is not registered with, any securities or other regulatory authority, and may, where appropriate, be distributed by the following Manulife entities in their respective jurisdictions. Additional information about Manulife Investment Management may be found at manulifeim.com/institutional.

Australia: Hancock Natural Resource Group Australasia Pty Limited., Manulife Investment Management (Hong Kong) Limited. Brazil: Hancock Asset Management Brasil Ltda. Canada: Manulife Investment Management Limited, Manulife Investment Management Distributors Inc., Manulife Investment Management (North America) Limited, Manulife Investment Management Private Markets (Canada) Corp. China: Manulife Overseas Investment Fund Management (Shanghai) Limited Company. European Economic Area Manulife Investment Management (Ireland) Ltd. which is authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland Hong Kong: Manulife Investment Management (Hong Kong) Limited. Indonesia: PT Manulife Aset Manajemen Indonesia. Japan: Manulife Investment Management (Japan) Limited. Malaysia: Manulife Investment Management (M) Berhad  200801033087 (834424-U) Philippines: Manulife Investment Management and Trust Corporation. Singapore: Manulife Investment Management (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Company Registration No. 200709952G) South Korea: Manulife Investment Management (Hong Kong) Limited. Switzerland: Manulife IM (Switzerland) LLC. Taiwan: Manulife Investment Management (Taiwan) Co. Ltd. United Kingdom: Manulife Investment Management (Europe) Ltdwhich is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority United States: John Hancock Investment Management LLC, Manulife Investment Management (US) LLC, Manulife Investment Management Private Markets (US) LLC and Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc. Vietnam: Manulife Investment Fund Management (Vietnam) Company Limited.

Manulife, Manulife Investment Management, Stylized M Design, and Manulife Investment Management & Stylized M Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under license.