Economic events, news updates and earnings seasons all impact the financial markets. But what about individuals? Here’s our take on 10 people who could move the markets in 2023.
10 – Mark Zuckerberg
The CEO of Meta Platforms is now a household name. Renaming Facebook to Meta Platforms and investing heavily into virtual reality (VR) headsets were giant leaps into the immersive virtual. Investors were however, not too impressed with changes at the company and the stock lost around 70% in 2022.
This brought him down to $140 billion of net worth after losing $100 billion hours after the announcement. Zuck’s excitement around the Metaverse’s prospects could continue to drive sentiment around NFTs and cryptos. Commentary around the economy and Meta Platforms’ layoffs (13% of its workforce) may also impact markets in 2023.
9 – Janet Yellen
Yellen created history in 2021 by becoming the first person to simultaneously head the White House Council of Economic Advisors, Federal Reserve, and US Treasury Department. Yellen is the current Secretary of the Treasury. The admirer of “cool rocks” has a net worth of $20 million.
Yellen has always been an economic dove. In 2022, she rejected the notion of high inflation being a consequence of the pandemic-related incentives and said it would not last long.
She has also been vocal about the US not heading into a recession. Yellen’s moves to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict could continue to lift market sentiment.
8 – Changpeng Zhao
The founder and CEO of Binance has a vision to make the exchange a bridge between crypto and fiat currency. Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, with a daily trade volume of about $9.5 trillion, which is close to 67% of the digital money market and has become competition free after the FTX debacle.
The Chinese-born math whiz had initially offered to buy FTX, the second most popular crypto-exchange. However, he narrowly escaped the turbulence as FTX came crashing down. Zhao has been listed among the top 150 richest people in the world by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and has a net worth of $13 billion.
7 – Marry Barra
The first woman to run one of the three biggest automakers in the US, Marry Barra has plans for General Motors to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Barra drove GM to eliminate gender gap in payrolls and GM has invested billions in electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and the ride-share service Maven under her guidance.
Barra’s net worth is estimated at $94 million. Her ambition is to overtake Tesla by selling 1 million electric vehicles by 2025 and double General Motor’s annual revenues to $280 billion by the end of the decade.
6 – Christine Lagarde
Lagarde is the first woman to become finance and economy minister of France, head of the International Monetary Fund and President of the ECB. She has had a tough tenure, assuming office in November 2019, with many European countries dealt a hard blow by covid lockdowns and economic impact.
The Eurozone experienced record-breaking double-digit inflation that was worsened by the energy crisis resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war. As soon as Lagarde decided to curb inflation with interest rate hikes, the euro collapsed by 20% and fell below the US dollar for the first time in 20 years.
She has been struggling to avert a bond market crisis and sovereign debt defaults, despite raising interest rates and easing asset purchases. Lagarde has indicated that inflation in the Eurozone has “not peaked out” yet, hinting at further monetary tightening.
5 – Jerome Powell
The Fed chief has the power to move markets every time he announces the country’s monetary policy and makes comments around inflation. His net worth is estimated at $50 million. Powell’s hawkish stance on inflation by consecutive and massive interest rate hikes throughout 2022 fuelled recessionary fear.
Although, his monetary tightening is expected to continue in 2023, the pace of hikes may be less aggressive. Powell in his last press conference in 2022, said he was looking at a price-gauge across the service sectors, as the labour markets hold the key to understanding inflation .
4 – Joe Biden
Biden had served as the US Vice President under Barak Obama and defeated Donald Trump in the US Democratic Presidential elections in late 2020. Last year was rough for the markets, with the S&P 500 declining 20%.
Biden is only second to Herbert Hoover, whose Presidential reign saw the worst year for the financial markets. Biden announced the largest-ever Strategic Petroleum Reserve release to tackle surging oil and gas prices. This led to a massive decline in oil prices in 2022. Biden also sanctioned the ramping up of domestic oil production, with the aim of leading global oil supply.
The Democratic Party is now facing an unprecedented challenge of historically high inflation, which could continue to impact the US dollar and equity markets.
3 – Xi Jinping
The President of People’s Republic of China, dubbed as the “Emperor of Everything”, was initially declared as “princeling” when he first got elected as Chinese Communist Party leader and then President.
The leader of the world’s most populated country scrapped the term limits by amending the Chinese constitution empowering him to hold the chair for life. He is known for his slogan “Chinese Dream,” which in his words is the “Road to Rejuvenation” of the country.
Perhaps not the Chinese Dream, but Xi Jinping’s dream seems to have come true, with a net worth of $1.2 billion. The US-China trade war, China’s controversial zero-covid policy and crackdowns on the private sector have cost the Chinese market billions of dollars. Although Jinping supported Russia on the Ukraine conflict, he has abided by Western sanctions.
2 – Vladimir Putin
The President of the world’s 11th largest economy, Putin has been the premier of Russia since 1999 and has almost always been elected by a large majority (76% in 2018). In 2020, Putin signed an executive order for amending the Russian Constitution to allow him to run for another two six-year terms.
In February 2022, Putin announced a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The war led to sanctions against Russia and oil supply shortages, stroking the worst recessionary fears. The sanctions caused Russian stocks to crash, sending the MOEX index lower by 44% in 2022, the worst year since 2008.
This shook the global markets, fuelling inflation and causing a major energy crisis across Europe. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and a pullback on energy supplies caused the euro to reach parity with the US dollar. It has also caused food supply shortages in the region.
The Bank of Russia could join other central banks in raising interest rates in 2023, if it continues to face labour shortages and import restrictions. Russia’s central bank has kept its key interest rate at 7.5% so far. An end of the war with Ukraine could lift all financial markets around the globe in 2023.
1 – Elon Musk
The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and now Twitter always manages to stay in the news! Musk heads all product design, engineering and global manufacturing of Tesla’s EVs and solar energy products.
In January 2021, Musk changed his Twitter bio to #bitcoin, sending the cryptocurrency 20% higher in just a few hours. Towards the middle of the year, he suggested he had fallen out of love with it and tweeted about Tesla’s plans to no longer accept Bitcoin payments. The crypto immediately fell from more than $54,800 to around $45,700, hitting its lowest since March 1, 2021. Musk had a similar effect on Dogecoin.
When he tweeted about this crypto in 2021, the price of Dogecoin skyrocketed more than 300% in four hours. The CEO of Tesla grabbed the headlines with his acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion. However, Tesla shareholders have been wary of the boss being distracted with Twitter.
This sentiment pushed shares of Tesla lower by more than 50% over the past six months. Tesla’s fate could create opportunities for other EV markets in the US and China. Musk’s tweets may also continue to cause ripples in the cryptocurrencies.
We’ve had a stormy start to 2023 and it could be another turbulent year for the financial markets. Contentworks Agency is the leading content marketing agency for the finance space. Talk to us about content for your bank, forex broker or fintech.
This article was written by Charlotte Day – Creative Director, Contentworks Agency
Charlotte is a content marketing strategist heading up social media and storytelling at Contentworks Agency. A content marketing thought leader, she has 1000+ articles published, guest writes for leading social media hubs and frequently speaks at events.