Volatile markets reflect fears of reality

Many refer to the growing gap between the reality of Covid-19-torn economies and equity markets. Battered businesses trying to adapt to social distancing and closures struggle to generate profits, to meet rent bills – or pay dividends. At the same time, major equity indices hit new highs. Most of us run with the wind, which … Continue reading “Volatile markets reflect fears of reality”

Treasuring trade

Global trade is good for everyone but it’s taken a back seat in the past year. Can we look forward to its renaissance in 2021 and beyond? One of the few topics on which economists agree is the benefits of global trade. Among the first lessons taught to economics students is the Ricardian theory of … Continue reading “Treasuring trade”

Post-Brexit trade deal: three key takeaways

As 2020 drew to a close, it marked not only an end to a dismal year beset by Covid-19, but also to the UK’s transition period as it ended its membership of the European Union. There was relief over the festive period among investors that a trade deal had been finalised, helping to boost sterling. … Continue reading “Post-Brexit trade deal: three key takeaways”

Patience required on the path to recovery

The growing confidence that 2021 will be much better than the year we have just endured is probably correct. That these positive emotions are stirred over Christmas and new year is right and proper – as feelings of optimism and renewal are central themes in our winter celebrations. There is also real evidence to support … Continue reading “Patience required on the path to recovery”

Looking back at the markets through November 2020

A selection of articles looking back through the markets last month. Global Market Review A November to remember It was a November for investors to remember as a widespread focus on the perceived safe havens of gold and government bonds was replaced by renewed interest in equities. Many major equity markets notched up double-digit gains … Continue reading “Looking back at the markets through November 2020”

Are investors adjusting to the new normal?

Potential for recovery following Covid-19 and trends which have accelerated as a result of it give many reasons for optimism heading into 2021. The list of reasons for investor uncertainty heading into 2021 remains long. A global pandemic. Lockdowns. Volatile markets. Political turbulence. Uncertainty over jobs and the economy. Record levels of government borrowing – … Continue reading “Are investors adjusting to the new normal?”

Trade policy under Joe Biden

Donald Trump’s focus on trade will be tempered under President-elect Joe Biden, but he understands the potency of Mr Trump’s rhetoric on these matters. President Trump in 2016 set out to slash the large US balance of trade deficit. He identified his villains – China, Germany and Japan – and set about exposing the villainy. … Continue reading “Trade policy under Joe Biden”

How the 2020 global share slump and recovery ranks in history

Stocks saw a record crash followed by a record rebound in 2020, creating some disparity between markets. The global stock market crashed at a record speed in early 2020 (Figure 1). On its way to a total decline of 34%, it clocked up a 30% loss in just 40 trading days. This is faster than … Continue reading “How the 2020 global share slump and recovery ranks in history”

Markets vs the Economy: The Big Disconnect

In March, governments across the world scrambled to contain COVID-19 by imposing draconian restrictions on activity.  As offices, shops, roads and rails emptied out, vast swathes of the economy were mothballed.  Over the next six months, we witnessed both the sharpest contraction and the fastest rebound on record, driven entirely by governments’ decisions to restrict … Continue reading “Markets vs the Economy: The Big Disconnect”

The four “M”s: why the 21st century belongs to Asia

For a look into the future of the global economy, and where the power is shifting, consider technology developments in both China and India. In a mere decade, China’s e-commerce market has grown from less than 1% of global sales, into the world’s largest market in 2016, representing more than 40% of transactions by value. … Continue reading “The four “M”s: why the 21st century belongs to Asia”

What a difference a vaccine makes

The announcement that a vaccine might be available before the end of the month that works and is safe changed everything – and nothing.  The optimists in markets decided that the news would be confirmed and get better. They think the vaccine they will complete its trials, it will pass its safety test – and … Continue reading “What a difference a vaccine makes”

The COVID crisis – from risk to opportunity

As recessions go, Covid was an unusually deep one, with many advanced and emerging economies contracting by well over 10% from peak to trough and a few by closer to 20%. However, it was also unusually brief, with the period of contraction lasting for only 1-3 months in most countries, as well as atypically strong; … Continue reading “The COVID crisis – from risk to opportunity”

Looking back at the markets through October

A selection of articles looking back through the markets last month. Global Market Review The “second wave” breaks Share prices fell heavily around the world during October as Covid-19 infection rates continued to rise. Governments intensified their lockdown measures, triggering concerns over prospects for economic recovery. “In the UK, rising infection rates led the Government … Continue reading “Looking back at the markets through October”

The EU gets serious about net zero

The Green revolution is wide-ranging and will have a huge impact on all our lives and investments. The European Council was advised by the Commission on Thursday night last week that it needed to up its game and go for a much higher target of carbon dioxide reduction by 2030. The Commission proposes a 55% … Continue reading “The EU gets serious about net zero”

Fed repression could turn to Fed regret

At its latest policy meeting the US Federal Reserve (Fed) signalled that interest rates would be close to zero for the next three years as it aimed to hit its new objective of a 2% average inflation target and maximum employment. The central bank’s economic projections show that it intends to run the economy “hot” … Continue reading “Fed repression could turn to Fed regret”