Where were you in ’92?
Søren Otto Simonsen
Senior Investment Editor
Summary: 30 years is a long time. Looking at the main headlines three decades ago - in 1992, you realise just how long it is.
If you want to learn more about the financial history of the past 30 years and get our experts’ views on what they believe some of those future opportunities could be, take a look here.
Mobile telephones become mainstream typewritersWhile the history of mobile telephones really begins in the mid 80’s, 1992 was a decisive year for the technology, which now seems to have taken over most of modern society. US sales topped 10 million units this year, whereas the global sale of mobile phones in 2021 is estimated to be just below 1.5 billion(!), showcasing the incredible journey the device has been on over the past 30 years. In 1992, two mobile telephones helped shaped this future: the Motorola International 3200, which was the first digital hand-sized mobile telephone and the Nokia 1011, the world’s first mass-produced mobile phone. But that wasn’t the only evolution, because the 1011 was also the world’s first phone capable of sending and receiving SMS messages – a technology many of us take for granted today.
If you want to browse through some more modern day technology stocks, have a look here. This should only be viewed as inspiration, not as advice.
No more tape saladIn 1992, people around the world were falling over themselves in excitement of the new, hip music-playing device: the Compact Disc, or the CD. While vinyl was on the way out, for the first time, CDs were sold in larger quantities than cassette tapes. Music today is digital only, but what a path it’s been to get here. MP3 players, mini-discs, iPods and CDs have all come and gone in the time Saxo Bank has been a thing. While there’s a bit of discussion about whether it happened in 1991 or 1992, this was the tipping point for CDs as they overtook the otherwise high-tech cassette tapes. No more using your pencil to save those tunes from tape salad! It only took the CD 10 years in commercial production to side-line both vinyl and cassettes. “The Visitors” by ABBA is widely viewed as the first commercial CD produced.
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”While the legendary words were said in June 1987 by US President Ronald Reagan to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, the official end to the Cold War was announced by two other presidents on 2 February 1992. Here, US President George Bush Senior and Russian President Boris Yeltsin proclaimed a “new era of friendship and partnership” and formally ended seven decades of rivalry, according to the New York Times. The two met in Munich in July the same year.
Steamboat Willie docks in EuropeOn April 12, 1992, European and especially French traffic services held their breath as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and all their friends travelled to Europe to open Disneyland Paris. With an estimated half-million people who would attempt to visit the park, traffic was expected to be a massive chaos. However, the beginning was anything but a fairy tale. The park experienced far fewer visitors than expected, followed by mass resignations and restructuring dialogues with banks, which could have ended in bankruptcy. But since the mid-1990’s, the theme park has grown into a massive success. According to the last financial report from 2016 (since Euro Disney S.C.A. was delisted in 2017) it is referred to as the leading European vacation destination, estimated to have had more than 300 million visitors since the opening in 1992.
Los Angeles is set ablaze – not from wildfireWhile wildfires in California seem to have become an annual occurrence, you may recall that 1992’s wild Californian fire took place in downtown Los Angeles in the event which is commonly known as the Los Angeles riots. After four white policemen were acquitted of using excess violence in the arrest of Rodney King, a black man driving under the influence, on 29 April, civil unrest escalated into riots, looting, assaults, arson, vandalism and shootouts. The riots went on for six days ending with 63 dead, almost 2,500 injured and more than 12,000 arrested. The event, which happened due to growing tensions between the white, black and Korean communities of the city, is estimated to have caused over USD 1 billion in property damage.
First steps on the road to a sustainable futureFrom 3-14 June, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, popularly known as the “Earth Summit” was held in Rio De Janeiro. The conference took place on the 20th anniversary of the first Human Environment Conference in Stockholm in 1972, the first international event focused on the environment after the end of the Cold War. One of the major outcomes of the Earth Summit was the so-called Agenda 21, a non-binding action plan focused on sustainable development. It was one of the first plans leading to what are known today as Sustainable Development Goals. The impact of the Earth Summit has been industry-changing for the financial sector. There’s an increased belief that professional and private investors alike play an important part in creating the sustainable future that was envisioned back in 1992. That’s why asset managers, banks and brokers alike work toward offering solutions that aren’t just good for your savings, but also for the planet. If you want to learn more about this, go check out our pages on ESG or watch our theme about investing in a better future. This should only be seen as inspiration, not advice.
Slam-dunk OlympicsIn late July and early August, the 1992 Olympics took place in Barcelona and made one of sport’s greatest icons a worldwide star. Michael Jordan led the USA to a basketball gold medal as part of the “Dream Team”, one of the greatest teams ever put together in any sport. The team’s triumph sent Michael Jordan into global orbit as one of the most famous people in the world. This led to the Warner Bros. blockbuster “Space Jam” four years later. Jordan’s immense popularity can also be seen in his line of sneakers and athletic clothing by the US brand, Nike. Some argue that the sneaker’s place in fashion today is due in part to the Air Jordan and the global fame that Michael Jordan enjoyed with the Dream Team in 1992.
It’s the economy, stupidDespite bringing the formal end to the Cold War, Bush couldn’t fend off his 18-year younger Democratic rival in 1992’s US presidential election. As the third-youngest president in American history, Bill Clinton beat Bush on 3 November to become the 42nd president of the country. Clinton’s campaign became unintentionally known under the slogan “It’s the economy, stupid”, which to this day is a phrase used in American political culture.
When one becomes twoFollowing the end of the Cold War and the subsequent fall of the USSR, a number of countries in Eastern Europe sought independence. On April 27, 1992, this meant the end of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The country, which was formed on the back of World War II, experienced internal ethnic tensions from the 80’s, which ended in a series of independence wars commonly referred to as the Yugoslav Wars. While the war – like any war –was terrible, it led to a highly unexpected moment for Saxo’s home country, Denmark. Yugoslavia had to drop out of the European Championship in football and due to seeding, Denmark was added to the tournament. The small country went on to win the Euro, which to this day stands as one of its greatest achievements in sports. Czechoslovakia also split in two in 1992 – the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Watching the growing tensions in former Yugoslavia, the Czechoslovakian leaders focused on finding a peaceful solution following the non-violent transition of power known as the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The country was split at the end of the year.
The European currency collaboration takes a big hitOn 16 September – the day after Saxo was founded – chaos struck in Europe and especially the United Kingdom. The British Pound collapsed primarily due to a massive sell-off by currency traders. The Bank of England was unable to protect the currency, which slipped under the lower limit of what was referred to as the European Exchange Rate mechanism, or ERM, and thus was forced to leave the collaboration. The ERM was introduced to stabilise European currencies in preparation for what today is the known as the common European currency, the Euro.
Globalisation picks up paceOn 17 December 1992, Canada, the USA and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement – NAFTA for short – which joined the three countries in one of the biggest trade blocs in the world by GDP. The agreement opened up free trade between the countries as well as freer movement of labour and is generally viewed as a symbol of globalisation, as it also led to international agreements for e.g. investors. The agreement kicked into action in 1994 and lasted until 2020, when it was replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which was one of US President Donald Trump’s trademark cases. The increasing globalisation of the year was also evident as mega-franchise McDonalds opened its first restaurant in China on 23 April.
None of the content in this article should be seen as investment advice. Trading carries risk.
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