Emerging markets: increasing or decreasing risks?

So far, 2018 has been a difficult year for emerging market (EM) assets, which in the last few months have fared significantly worse than their counterparts in developed markets. This has been due mainly to worldwide issues but also country-specific political uncertainty. Many investors are now asking if the sell-off presents a buying opportunity – … Continue reading “Emerging markets: increasing or decreasing risks?”

Globalisation – Nothing new under the sun

There is nothing new about geopolitics. Geography – both physical and human – has influenced politics and international relations for centuries, even millennia. But the nature of geopolitical risk has changed over time. During the Cold War, geopolitical risks for Western governments and the corporate world were focused on Moscow’s motivations and behaviour, the possibility … Continue reading “Globalisation – Nothing new under the sun”

Trade War: A game of strategy

Donald, who? In early 2016, Parmenion used the incoming US President, Donald Trump as the theme for our regional roadshows. Who was he and what were his plans? We talked about The Wall, his infrastructure plans, tax cutting ideas and the promised support for the military. We didn’t foresee the Russian investigation, high White House staff … Continue reading “Trade War: A game of strategy”

Investors are hoping Trump is playing tactics

When equity markets were hitting new highs Donald Trump was taking all the credit. “The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me,” the President declared to journalists aboard Air Force One. But the problem with this attitude, as noted by Barack Obama’s former press secretary Jay Carney, is that if you … Continue reading “Investors are hoping Trump is playing tactics”

Brexit vote two years on: are we heading for a hard Brexit?

Two years have passed since the UK’s historic referendum on leaving the European Union, yet the big questions over the future relationship with the UK’s biggest trading partner remain unanswered. Will the UK remain in the EU’s customs union? Will it be a member of the single market? Will the UK face tariffs on its … Continue reading “Brexit vote two years on: are we heading for a hard Brexit?”

More trade disruption from US sanctions on Iran

There has been plenty of attention to the way the EU is caught in the crossfire of the US trade dispute with China. We also need to remember that the EU also stands to lose from the US wider dispute with Iran. The EU exported $10.8bn to Iran last year and is worried that US … Continue reading “More trade disruption from US sanctions on Iran”

The IMF and World Bank must evolve to remain relevant

It is hard to square a US President bent on protectionism with two institutions that have been a bulwark for free trade for over 70 years. The Bretton Woods institutions, as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are known collectively, were created during the Second World War to support the post-war economic and … Continue reading “The IMF and World Bank must evolve to remain relevant”

Is the road to inflation taking us back to the 1960s?

The 1960s are remembered for radical social reform, political upheaval and war. Often forgotten is that they were also a time of rising inflation – and in this they may hold disquieting lessons for us today.   One of our key calls for 2018 is that consumer price inflation in the US will become an … Continue reading “Is the road to inflation taking us back to the 1960s?”

What causes recessions, and can we predict them?

The US economic expansion has just become the second longest on record. If it continues beyond mid-2019, it will be number one. Its longevity is probably due to a mixture of circumstances, judgement and luck. The severity of the recession following the global financial crisis (GFC), coupled with the slowness of the subsequent recovery, has … Continue reading “What causes recessions, and can we predict them?”

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”

Blue skies for communist China?

China is attempting to develop a more rounded and richer economy, with more coming from services and higher value added activities – a difficult balancing act. China’s achievement under President Xi, as under his immediate predecessors, has been impressive. According to the World Bank China now has the world’s largest economy as measured in Purchasing … Continue reading “Blue skies for communist China?”

Italian election yields a bitter stalemate

Italy is not usually known for its political stability, so the results of its general election come as no surprise. The bitter and divisive contest yielded no overall winner, but the swing towards populist extremist parties could be a concern. Based on exit polls, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement appears to be the single biggest … Continue reading “Italian election yields a bitter stalemate”

Will the US infrastructure plan be effective?

The United States (US) presidential plan is to raise $1.5trn to $1.7trn to spend on US infrastructure over the course of the next ten years. The proposed plan aims to restructure the permitting process, which is currently inefficient and may have actually disincentivised investment efforts. Where is the money coming from and what will it … Continue reading “Will the US infrastructure plan be effective?”

Forces of nature: the emerging solar and wind revolution

In north-western China’s arid Tengger desert lies a spectacular city. Not one of buildings but solar panels, and millions of them. This “Great Wall of Solar” covers 1,200km2 – only 100km2 less than Los Angeles. It is the latest development in China’s aspiration to be the world’s leader in solar power. The renewables revolution is … Continue reading “Forces of nature: the emerging solar and wind revolution”

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”