The ongoing drought is the worst in the United States since at least 1956, with 63 percent of the lower 48 states suffering drought conditions at the end of August. While conditions are far from those in the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, drought conditions are the new normal, according to “Global Drought – Opportunities and Risks,” a new BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report. It follows thematic megatrend reports from BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research on obesity, energy efficiency, and safety and security.
The U.S. and global drought underscores increased long-term challenges to global food, water and energy security, as demand for food and energy each are expected to climb 50 percent by 2030 with the demand for water growing by 40 percent over the same period, potentially creating a perfect storm of interlinked challenges.
These changing conditions pose a range of opportunities and risks for investors. For investors interested in the themes of fighting drought and in promoting food, water and energy security, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has introduced a screen that identifies liquid stocks exposed to global drought-related themes under the Bloomberg ticker MLEIARID. The stocks included in the screen are those that it considers to be long-term solution providers in such areas as water, fertilizers, crop science, energy efficiency, second-generation biofuels and renewables.
“The severity of the global drought underscores the long-term challenges for national and global economies,” said Sarbjit Nahal, equity strategist with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) and Sustainability Team and a co-author of the report. “Food, water and energy security are increasingly bigger issues, and as governments, businesses and other players struggle to adapt to and mitigate drought conditions, there will be an evolving set of opportunities and risks for investors.”The report, prepared collaboratively by the firm’s Global Strategy, Commodities, Economics and sector teams, incorporates research and insights from a wide range of resources within the Global Research franchise.