Where do you find a good yield?

Part of the big idea of Central Banks creating money and buying bonds is to drive other investors to buy riskier assets. They want to stimulate more activity. They hope that by taking interest rates down to very low levels some people will spend more instead of saving, and others will be more adventurous with … Continue reading “Where do you find a good yield?”

The Chinese liquidity trap

It is not just in developed markets that corporates are finding little productive use for easy money. Monetary easing in China, too, is having little apparent impact on the real economy. The M1-M21 gap in China, shown in the chart below, has historically functioned well as an indicator of GDP growth. Typically, if M1 growth … Continue reading “The Chinese liquidity trap”

Return-free risk

Bonds are at the epicentre of what is a highly fragile environment. “Brexit brought forward the size, scale, scope and speed of more monetary policy. No wonder markets are up!” – Former Federal Reserve (Fed) Governor, Kevin Warsh, July 2016 It is often stated that markets hate uncertainty. Like many things this cycle, this notion has been … Continue reading “Return-free risk”

Around the world and back again: has the globalisation theme turned full circle?

2008 may come eventually to be seen as the peak in the trend towards globalisation, the point at which the tide turned and the global spider’s web of supply chains and trade routes began to shrink. For several decades we have witnessed a continued expansion in the trade between economies around the world, crisscrossed by … Continue reading “Around the world and back again: has the globalisation theme turned full circle?”

The US Federal Reserve – Birds of a Feather

What do you get when you cross a hawk with a dove? A fair amount of confusion, if the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) is anything to go by. At this year’s Jackson Hole gathering of the world’s central bankers, Fed Chair Janet Yellen declared that ‘the case for an increase in the federal funds … Continue reading “The US Federal Reserve – Birds of a Feather”

Focus turns to reforms after Brazil votes to impeach Rousseff

The impeachment of Dilma Rousseff had been widely expected. The prospects for Brazilian assets now rest on economic fundamentals and much-needed reforms. With a greater-than-expected majority, Brazil’s Senate voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, removing her from office after her suspension in May. Rousseff is replaced as president by Michel Temer, who has been acting … Continue reading “Focus turns to reforms after Brazil votes to impeach Rousseff”

Emerging markets outperform in August

Emerging Markets Briefing – Emerging equity markets generally performed better than their developed counterparts during August, led by a strong contribution from China. The Shanghai Composite Index rose by 3.6%. During the month, a plan to connect the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges was finally approved in principle. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects … Continue reading “Emerging markets outperform in August”

Strong jobs data fuel US rate rise expectations

US Briefing – The Dow Jones Industrial Average Index , the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Index all reached new highs during August. Over the month as a whole, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index fell by 0.2% and the S&P 500 Index edged 0.1% lower, while the Nasdaq Index rose by 1%. The … Continue reading “Strong jobs data fuel US rate rise expectations”

Yen’s fluctuations continue to affect markets

Asia including Japan Briefing – Medium-sized Japanese companies outperformed their larger counterparts during August as exporters remained hostage to the yen’s strength. The Nikkei 225 Index and the Topix Index rose by 1.9% and 0.5% respectively over the month; in comparison, the TSE Second Section Index climbed by 2.8%. Better-than-expected US employment data fuelled expectations … Continue reading “Yen’s fluctuations continue to affect markets”

UK base rate falls to record low

UK Equity Growth Briefing – UK equity markets delivered a relatively muted performance during August as investors’ attention continued to focus on monetary policy – both domestic and overseas – and on ongoing fluctuations in the price of oil. The Bank of England (BoE) cut UK interest rates to 0.25% during the month, and also … Continue reading “UK base rate falls to record low”

European markets deliver mixed performance

Europe briefing – Although the overall performance of European equity markets was relatively muted during August, returns at individual country level were rather more mixed. Ireland generated a strong performance during the month, and the benchmark ISEQ 20 Index rose by 4.7%. Research from Bank of Ireland suggests that confidence amongst Irish businesses and consumers … Continue reading “European markets deliver mixed performance”

US interest-rate outlook dominates attention

Global Briefing – Investor sentiment during August was influenced primarily by the outlook for US interest rates and ongoing volatility in the price of oil . Better-than-expected jobs data provided a boost for US stock markets during August and stoked expectations of higher interest rates before the end of 2016. Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Janet … Continue reading “US interest-rate outlook dominates attention”

A bull in the China shop?

The Chinese stock market has been making some upward progress this year after the dramatic boom and bust cycle it went through in 2015. The authorities had a plan to involve more Chinese people in the stock market, and to gradually open Chinese shares to more foreign capital and influence. Unfortunately for them, individual investors … Continue reading “A bull in the China shop?”