Dear Colleagues and friends,
Happy New Year! Last year was full of pandemic-related ups and downs, but as we begin 2022, I feel cautiously hopeful that the new year will be a good one. These last days of 2021 were a time for reflection on the events that shaped our year. We saw progress and optimism in some areas; setbacks and challenges defined others. Therefore, holding onto reasons for hope can be difficult after one of the most trying years in recent memory. But amid the losses and setbacks, we saw significant steps forward in EnhancedExchange’s development, set to gain momentum in the new year. So it is an excellent opportunity to have a look and take stock of what we have achieved in our company and mostly the economic context in which we labored. Indeed, the intersection between trade policy and environmental issues has re-entered the spotlight amid questions over whether our economic systems are fit for tackling evidence-based sustainability challenges. You may have heard that valuations today are elevated. Let’s zoom out and look at stock valuations relative to a combined measure of GDP, corporate sales, earnings and book value.
Though, see just how historically elevated they are with this eye-opening perspective that speaks volumes about the degree of the positive mood trend. There is also growing interest in how voluntary sustainability standards can help with risk reduction. Meanwhile, investment law and policy remain crucial avenues for ensuring our economic frameworks and achieving our development objectives. This was a big year for nature-based solutions, which came into the spotlight as a tool for tackling climate change and biodiversity loss. Moreover, reminding us that we cannot afford to repeat past nature-based mistakes. Furthermore, the outstanding stability of long-term interest rates has elicited fewer comments than the gyrations of equities and energy prices, partly owing to its disappointment. But primarily because bond investors’ refusal to push yields much higher seemed to defy all rational explanation, at least according to conventional economic and financial theories. However, we saw some dramatic financial events in 2021. Such as the 20% gain in equity prices, the 40% jump in oil prices, and even the fivefold leap in US inflation, which may all have been more significant than expected.
Nonetheless, they were at least logical consequences of the world economy’s fastest growth in 40 years. That explosive growth, in turn, was a foregone conclusion in the aftermath of last year’s unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimuli, which were exacerbated by the end of Covid lockdowns. A more theatrical event than the performance of equities or energy, or even inflation, was also arguably more critical for financial markets and global economic prospects. The 10-year US treasury yield, almost universally expected to rise back into the 2-3% range it had inhabited before Covid, ended in 2021 well below 1.5%. All this economic reality impacted our business and challenged us to pursue growth. However, we have had complex but impactful, energized, and inclusive achievements by penetrating new global markets. In 2021 we structured EnhancedExchange gate processes to take a product from concept to production by illustrating the potential with corn and soybean processing plants. While embracing debate to challenge marketplace convections, we executed projects to ensure that all initiatives were completed accurately within performance criteria.
We personified best practices using a rigorous process control that allows continuous, on-time delivery of high quality, high value, safe products. Our experts solved challenges by translating rigorous research into actionable guidance with the autonomous ability that led to stakeholders’ contributions. Indeed, we will be present on many fronts through our products and service coming online in 2022 to continue developing our supply chain while gaining sustainable collaboration. As a result, I should like to seize this opportunity to thank you for your exceptional collaboration, your long-term support, your gifts of time, expertise, guidance, wisdom, and perseverance throughout this challenging and unprecedented year. You have shown a genuine desire to continue to work to build our company despite the rough times. Throughout the pandemic, I have been heartened by how you all come together and take care of one another. Looking on to 2022, I hope that in-person meetings will resume soon. This also means gathering at our events, as online life will never be an appropriate substitute for actual human contact.
However, we must realize that we will remain locked in our bubbles if the pandemic is with us. The danger arising from personal isolation will remain high. Given my experience, I am well aware that quality work and sound decisions necessitate extensive consultation before making a decision. I need to start with the correct facts and the best data to understand the confrontation of opinions with an inclusive team spirit. So, even though we are confined to our homes, we must resist the temptation to isolate and alienate one another. We must avoid falling into the pandemic trap. My plea to you is to use social media intensively for conferences and webinars to inspire mutual communication and conversation. I genuinely hope you have enjoyed the holiday season with family and friends and are looking forward to the new year. I am both honored and humbled to be a part of this journey with you and wish you all much happiness, health, and hope for 2022.
The President & CEO