America First – At what cost?

Just as economies around the world show signs of growing in sync (which is rare) Donald Trump has announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminium. Stock markets reacted badly to the news, on fears of a possible trade war. After taking rising interest rates and stock market volatility in their stride, the threat of protectionism … Continue reading “America First – At what cost?”

How China is positioning for slower growth

The Chinese authorities seem to have acknowledged that lower growth will be inevitable. We look at how they have increased their room for manoeuvre economically and politically. The National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s national legislature, met from 5th to 20th March. This conference traditionally provides the senior leadership group with the opportunity to set policy … Continue reading “How China is positioning for slower growth”

The US Congress holds the purse strings and wishes to loosen them

In theory the President sets out a budget in February and the Congress responds with a Budget resolution in May. In practice the Congress runs the budget, and has just passed a two year budget deal regardless of the White House proposals that crossed in the post with their decisions. President Trump’s wish to cut … Continue reading “The US Congress holds the purse strings and wishes to loosen them”

The US budget should help economic growth

The Trump administration White House has set out its preferred budget for 2019. It is likely the House and Senate will wish to tone down its dramatic proposals. The President’s wish is to boost military and veterans expenditure substantially, whilst cutting back hard on various other departments and programmes. A 13% increase in defence is … Continue reading “The US budget should help economic growth”

A weak dollar is a tailwind for global growth

The 10% depreciation of the trade-weighted US dollar over the past year is an underappreciated driver of the synchronised upswing in world trade and global economic growth. That’s because movements in the US dollar have global consequences above and beyond movements in any other currency – dollar appreciation tends to crimp global trade and credit … Continue reading “A weak dollar is a tailwind for global growth”

UK growth edges higher, but BoE likely to hold

The initial estimate of GDP growth for the final quarter of 2017 showed the economy maintained a sluggish pace of growth of 0.5% quarter-on-quarter. This takes GDP growth for 2017 to 1.8%, which is a fall from 1.9% in 2016, and the lowest annual growth rate since 2012. Slight growth pick-up is encouraging Within the … Continue reading “UK growth edges higher, but BoE likely to hold”

One year of Trump

January 20th marked Donald Trump’s one-year anniversary as US President.  So far, his tenure has proved controversial and divisive, both domestically and abroad. His attempts to take credit for the performance of the US economy and equity market should be taken with a pinch of salt, particularly given the considerable momentum carried over from his … Continue reading “One year of Trump”

Where should investors look for opportunities in 2018?

After a turbo-charged 2017 investors have become nervous of a market sell-off. Among the signs: technology stocks have wobbled recently; high yield corporate bond spreads – the risk premium corporate bonds provide over government bonds – have narrowed to levels not seen since the financial crisis; and speculation has driven a bitcoin frenzy. But while … Continue reading “Where should investors look for opportunities in 2018?”

Will China’s stronger-than-expected growth last?

At the closing ceremony of the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th five-year National Congress, President Xi Jinping’s banner term “Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” was written into its constitution, taking its place among the formal ideologies of his predecessors. Meanwhile, there are suggestions that he may remain in power past the … Continue reading “Will China’s stronger-than-expected growth last?”

Spain’s troubles will not derail Eurozone growth

Political risk stalks the Eurozone. The imposition of budget rules from the centre makes domestic politics in many of the zone’s countries difficult. Many of the countries have proportional systems which make majority governments a bit less likely anyway. The unpopularity of austerity policies to comply with Eurozone budget rules has aided in many countries … Continue reading “Spain’s troubles will not derail Eurozone growth”

The rise of China’s technology giants

Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have rewarded investors’ faith in them. But how have they come to dominate the online economy in China?  When little-known Chinese online gaming and messaging company Tencent decided to list in Hong Kong back in June 2004, its shares were offered at HK$ 3.70 apiece. Fast-forward 13 years to the present … Continue reading “The rise of China’s technology giants”

With the German election over, it’s time to focus on Europe’s growth opportunities

As expected, Angela Merkel has emerged as the victor in the German elections with her centre-right CDU/CSU bloc winning 33% of Sunday’s vote. The centre-left SPD took 20.5% and has said it will go into opposition. The dominant parties in Germany remain pro-EU although the far-right AfD won a higher-than-expected 12.6% of the vote. Negotiations … Continue reading “With the German election over, it’s time to focus on Europe’s growth opportunities”

Draghi stalls for time on QE details

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council decided to keep interest rates unchanged at their meeting on 7th September.  Importantly, it did not provide any details on the future of its quantitative easing (QE) programme, which is due to end in December. The ECB has typically announced changes in its QE programme three months ahead … Continue reading “Draghi stalls for time on QE details”

Economic effects of Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was a tragedy. It also has the potential to have a considerable economic impact on both the economy of Texas and on the broader US economy. There are also material implications for both commodities and insurance markets. Economic Impact Early estimates put property damage at between $30bn and $100bn (0.2%-0.5% of GDP). For … Continue reading “Economic effects of Hurricane Harvey”

Mr Draghi worries about growth

ECB President Mario Draghi brought a surfeit of pessimism to the Jackson Hole meeting of central bankers. He argued that the 2% trend rate of growth for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rich countries prior to the banking crash of 2008 has now halved to a trend rate of around just 1%. … Continue reading “Mr Draghi worries about growth”