The art of the deal and tax cuts for the US

President Trump promised the USA the art of the deal when he came to office. He conjured a view of a successful businessman cutting a better deal for working America, with a new approach to trade, tax, infrastructure spending and the rest to promote a more prosperous country. Seven months on, some are asking if … Continue reading “The art of the deal and tax cuts for the US”

Are markets underestimating geopolitical risk?

Every week it appears that North Korea tests a missile that falls safely in the Sea of Japan. Saudi Arabia and its close neighbour Qatar are having a spat about terrorism funding, could they come to blows and what would that mean for the oil price? Should we worry about such events? And how will … Continue reading “Are markets underestimating geopolitical risk?”

Euro area prospects

Markets heaved a sigh of relief when the Dutch election failed to give Mr Wilders the government and when Mr Macron swept into the Presidency of France along with a Parliamentary majority. It meant the euro was safe for a bit from parties and candidates who wished to break it up. We have been positive … Continue reading “Euro area prospects”

Fed leaves rates on hold and balance sheet reduction is coming soon

No surprises from the US Federal Reserve (Fed) with interest rates being left unchanged at the meeting last Wednesday. The statement contained some tweaks in wording with job gains now upgraded to “solid” and inflation is noted as “running below 2%”. Meanwhile, balance sheet reduction (the unwinding of quantitative easing) is now expected to take … Continue reading “Fed leaves rates on hold and balance sheet reduction is coming soon”

When smooth waters cause ripples

It is proving to be a healthy quarter of results for US banks and the outlook is fine, regardless of what might or might not happen about regulation. The banks have decent economic growth to thank for much of their own health. Higher interest rates have been good for bank lending and net interest margins … Continue reading “When smooth waters cause ripples”

UK GDP growth remains sluggish

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show the UK economy saw a small pick-up in GDP growth, but the overall environment remains sluggish. The preliminary estimate shows second quarter GDP growth at 0.3% compared to 0.2% in the first quarter, and matching consensus expectations. To put the recent growth figures into context, the … Continue reading “UK GDP growth remains sluggish”

The Republicans fall out and the dollar weakens

One of the surprises for markets this year has been the weakness of the dollar. Last year, investors built up large speculative positions expecting the dollar to go better. The US was beginning to increase its interest rates and would in due course reduce its stockpile of government bonds held by the Fed. As more … Continue reading “The Republicans fall out and the dollar weakens”

Could politics structurally alter the economic backdrop?

With 5 July having marked ten years since the Bank of England (BoE) last raised UK interest rates, we assess the state of the economy and its prospects in light of recent political developments. Although the UK economy has shown resilience since last year’s Brexit referendum, its growth rate decelerated in the first quarter of … Continue reading “Could politics structurally alter the economic backdrop?”

New Dawn for India’s Solar Dreams

India isn’t a country you would associate with environmental stewardship. The Ganges River, an object of veneration for Hindus, is famously polluted; the country hosts 13 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, according to the World Health Organisation; last year you could even see the smog hanging over New Delhi from outer space. Indeed, … Continue reading “New Dawn for India’s Solar Dreams”

Inflation subsides

A little bit of inflation is fine for share markets. A couple of years ago some investors were very worried that the advanced world was relapsing into deflation. If prices generally start falling, people put off buying things on the reasonable grounds they will be cheaper later. This can trip an economy into recession or … Continue reading “Inflation subsides”

Chinese growth beats forecasts but looks set to slow

Chinese growth once again surpassed expectations in the second quarter, growing 6.9% year-on-year (y/y), unchanged from the first quarter. This should ease fears over the ongoing credit tightening in China, though we still expect a growth impact to come through in the second half of this year. Manufacturing growth accelerates A key contributor to the … Continue reading “Chinese growth beats forecasts but looks set to slow”

Putting politicians on pedestals only leads to disappointment

It is hard to overstate the expectations resting on Emmanuel Macron’s shoulders. He has only just been elected and already he is being heralded as Europe’s saviour. But high expectations can easily drift into unrealistic ones. A little circumspection would better serve us all. Macron’s ascent is certainly remarkable. His party didn’t even exist eighteen … Continue reading “Putting politicians on pedestals only leads to disappointment”

Central banks spark confusion

Investors were clearly rattled by the mixed messages emanating from central banks in June, which sparked a sell-off in government bonds. The Federal Reserve at least has been fairly clear about its direction of travel. It has struck a more hawkish rhetoric recently, as policy makers become increasingly confident on the outlook for the US … Continue reading “Central banks spark confusion”

Curve ball

Governments aren’t the only things proving to be less than strong and stable these days. Take the Phillips Curve, which describes the relationship between unemployment and wage growth. As unemployment falls, using up spare capacity in the labour market, it makes intuitive sense that wage growth starts to pick up. Given the key role played … Continue reading “Curve ball”

Global liquidity and emerging markets

Emerging markets have benefited from an extremely accommodative environment but global liquidity conditions are becoming less easy than they used to be. Today we find ourselves in a world where central banks are reviewing their unconventional stimulus measures. The European Central Bank (ECB) is discussing tapering quantitative easing (QE) while the Federal Reserve (Fed) is … Continue reading “Global liquidity and emerging markets”