Bond vigilantes at the gates in Italy

The 2019 budget target was unveiled on 27 September 2019, with the government defying the advice of Giovanni Tria, Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance. Tria had recommended a deficit1 of 1.6% of GDP; however, the target has been set at 2.4% of GDP. Italy is now on a collision course with the European Commission, … Continue reading “Bond vigilantes at the gates in Italy”

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”

Trade wars step up, more to come

The US has announced tariffs on another $200 billion of imports from China, citing ongoing concerns over the theft of technology and forced transfer of intellectual property. The tariffs take effect next week and are initially set at 10% rising to 25% from 1 January next year. China has yet to respond, but the White … Continue reading “Trade wars step up, more to come”

Hubris and Nemesis: insights into the financial crisis

Ten years ago, the demise of Lehman Brothers marked the height of the financial crisis. At the time, I was an economist at one of the UK’s largest financial institutions. Working there gave me abundant insights into the psychological biases at play, both in that institution and in the companies that it supported. Many of … Continue reading “Hubris and Nemesis: insights into the financial crisis”

Growth to slow as trade wars escalate

As a deeper and more prolonged trade war is anticipated between the US and China, we have downgraded our global growth expectations and forecast slower growth in both 2018 and 2019. Much of the slowdown can be attributed to the effect of trade wars. Europe and Japan disappoint Two of the world’s most export-oriented economies, … Continue reading “Growth to slow as trade wars escalate”

Doom Loop

The most likely candidate for the next ‘Lehman moment’ is in Europe. In some ways the regulatory response that followed in the years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers has been a success. The days of racy balance sheets chasing outsized profits on wafer thin capital are largely over; replaced by a mantra of prudence … Continue reading “Doom Loop”

Turkey trouble: what’s behind it and what does it mean for emerging markets?

Turkey’s currency, the lira, has plunged 68% against the dollar since the start of 2018. Year-to-date its stock market has fallen nearly 18% and inflation hit 16% in July, more than three times the central bank’s target. Turkey’s current crisis has been a long time coming. The early warning signs were apparent in the 2013 … Continue reading “Turkey trouble: what’s behind it and what does it mean for emerging markets?”

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?”