Why policy reform is the key to China’s demographic challenge

It is well known that China faces an ageing problem. The popular narrative has it that China surged up the growth league tables on the back of its giant population, reaping years of demographic dividends to become the world’s second largest economy. In this narrative, China’s population is now ageing and so the growth story … Continue reading “Why policy reform is the key to China’s demographic challenge”

Will France cut taxes in response to protests?

For 21 weeks now, the Gilets Jaunes have taken to the streets of French cities to protest. It began as a demonstration against high and rising fuel taxes. These tax increases hit families getting children to school and the adults to work, and cut the earnings of the self-employed working from their vans and cars. … Continue reading “Will France cut taxes in response to protests?”

Is the UK stuck in Brexit limbo?

The UK has been granted its second extension to the Article 50 deadline, averting a no-deal Brexit that would have happened on 12 April. The UK now has until 31 October to ratify the current Withdrawal Agreement, although there was some disagreement amongst other EU members as to how much longer the UK should be … Continue reading “Is the UK stuck in Brexit limbo?”

Will the US-China trade deal live up to expectations?

President Trump usually encourages high expectations of what he and the US might achieve. A deal-maker by instinct and long business practice, he has made much of his ability to get the country a better deal. These claims are now on trial as we approach the end game of the US-China trade talks. The President … Continue reading “Will the US-China trade deal live up to expectations?”

Why Emerging Market Debt’s positive start to 2019 can continue

After a challenging 2018 in which emerging market debt (EMD) logged negative total returns, 2019 has begun with an eye-catching recovery. In the case of EMD sovereigns, all the losses of 2018 were erased by January 2019, and most EMD asset classes have added to or held onto their gains since then. So what next? … Continue reading “Why Emerging Market Debt’s positive start to 2019 can continue”

Germany will pay the price for Italy’s provocation of Trump

The Italians have joined China’s controversial “New Silk Road” programme, a move that is likely to stoke the ire of Washington. At the weekend, Italian populists handed Donald Trump yet another reason to turn his trade guns on Europe, increasing the risk of a German recession. At a signing ceremony in Rome, Chinese President Xi … Continue reading “Germany will pay the price for Italy’s provocation of Trump”

Panning for gold in murky waters

In 2018, international investors pulled out more than €50 billion from European equities in response to weakening Eurozone economic data, uncertainty over Brexit and concerns about Italian banks. Today, investors’ positioning in Europe is as underweight as it has been since the Eurozone crisis. It is understandable that investors are wary of a potential economic … Continue reading “Panning for gold in murky waters”

Is corporate debt worth the risk?

As bond investors seek a better return than the poor yields on advanced country bonds, they eye up the higher income available on some company debt. There has been a sharp increase in so called levered loans. These are bonds issued by larger companies, often at a floating rate of interest related to official interest … Continue reading “Is corporate debt worth the risk?”

Fed turns more dovish and signals an end to rate hikes

The Federal Reserve (Fed) has lowered its projections for US growth and inflation and reduced its expectations for interest rates. The “dot plot” published after last night’s meeting shows no rate hikes this year and only one in 2020.  Tighter financial conditions At his press conference, Fed chair Jerome Powell said growth was slowing by … Continue reading “Fed turns more dovish and signals an end to rate hikes”

You still struggle to get an income on safer investments

The difficulties in getting a good return from Western nation bonds. The great crash of 2008-9 has left interest rates in much of the advanced world at very low levels. The fitful and slow recovery this decade has meant central banks have needed to keep rates low. Japan had a similar, if even more dramatic, … Continue reading “You still struggle to get an income on safer investments”

Inescapable investment truths for the decade ahead

It seems clear to us that the world investors have got used to over the last few years is very different to the one we need to get accustomed to in the years to come. We have identified a number of economic forces and disruptive forces we think will shape the investment landscape ahead of … Continue reading “Inescapable investment truths for the decade ahead”

A good start to the year – where next?

As we move into March, global stocks have enjoyed the best start to the year in almost three decades. Does this bode well for the rest of 2019? History suggests it does. Since 1928, a good January/February has led to a positive calendar year over 80% of the time. However, history does not always rhyme … Continue reading “A good start to the year – where next?”

Does the US have enough firepower to fight the next recession?

With interest rates already near record lows, what’s left in the Fed’s arsenal to fight the next recession? Low starting interest rates means that the Federal Reserve (Fed) may need to expand its policy toolkit to fight an economic downturn. But if this proves insufficient, fiscal policy need to pick up the slack. The go-to … Continue reading “Does the US have enough firepower to fight the next recession?”