Japan gets into party mood – how will markets respond?

Japan had been fighting deflation for years since the great crash of its banks and property market thirty years ago. An ageing population saves a lot. Population numbers are falling so GDP will not grow as quickly as in places like the US and UK where migration adds to the numbers. Companies are worried about … Continue reading “Japan gets into party mood – how will markets respond?”

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”

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”

Avoiding a corporate bond liquidity squeeze

Since the global financial crisis in 2008, aging developed-world populations, record low deposit interest rates and quantitative easing by the world’s major central banks have driven a global ‘search for yield’ by investors. For many years, this drove asset yields lower across the risk spectrum. However, since the start of 2018 the investment backdrop has … Continue reading “Avoiding a corporate bond liquidity squeeze”

Will the world authorities do enough to stimulate their economies?

Markets signalled the slowdown now underway in industrial output and investment with a sharp sell-off at the end of last year. They challenged the Federal Reserve in particular to ease its tough stance, which it duly did as 2019 dawned. US policy is to spend more and tax less, offering some budget boost to the … Continue reading “Will the world authorities do enough to stimulate their economies?”

China tries to balance its economy

The Chinese bear market in shares has lasted since the peaks reached in the summer of 2015. The index of share prices for the Shanghai market has halved since June 2015. Then excessive exuberance tempted many domestic buyers into the stock market. A substantial credit expansion allowed people to buy shares on borrowed money. When … Continue reading “China tries to balance its economy”

A slowdown in the world economy worries markets

Japanese interest rates are negative, Euro-area rates are still at zero, the UK official short-rate is at 0.75% and in the US at 2.25%. The Japanese are still running a quantitative easing programme, printing money to buy up state debt, and the Euro-area is doing a little bit more of the same until the end … Continue reading “A slowdown in the world economy worries markets”

Inflation and capacity

There is a danger that central banks will tighten too much. Part of the market plunge during October was a response to tougher money conditions around the world. The Federal Reserve in the US is well advanced with a programme of rate rises. At the same time, it is supervising the rundown of its portfolio … Continue reading “Inflation and capacity”

The forgotten bear market in China

In the summer of 2015, the Chinese authorities overdid their enthusiasm for wider share ownership. With their general encouragement, brokers advanced large sums to individuals to buy shares. A buying frenzy developed in the markets and the Shanghai index hit a new high of 5,166 in June. The government decided things were getting out of … Continue reading “The forgotten bear market in China”

EU caught up in internal war of words

The President of the EU Commission had some choice words to say about the Italian budget dispute. Jean-Claude Juncker argues that Italy has to keep to strict budget limits on spending and borrowing that has been laid down by the EU. He went so far as to suggest it would mean the end of the … Continue reading “EU caught up in internal war of words”

Trade and banking matters hit China

The Chinese economy is one of the two giant economies in the global market. We have got used to relying on China to produce growth of more than 6%, and to supply a wide range of manufactured items at attractive prices. The combined effects of a huge expansion of Chinese manufacturing capacity, and the digital … Continue reading “Trade and banking matters hit China”

Europe’s struggle to break free

At the start of 2018, it looked likely that interest rates could start to rise across Europe, signalling the end of the necessary post-crisis readjustment in the financial sector. However, as is often the case, the themes that drive markets at the start of the year can often be forgotten by the end. As 2018 … Continue reading “Europe’s struggle to break free”

Turkey: an idiosyncratic problem or a threat to wider emerging markets?

Turkey has seen a temporary resolution to its current crisis with the injection of $15bn of Qatari cash, but it is still in crisis. The Qatar offer, from Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, is designed to help the country ride out its currency crisis, which has seen the lira plunge. However, it is a short-term … Continue reading “Turkey: an idiosyncratic problem or a threat to wider emerging markets?”