Trade: Will Trump rediscover the art of the deal?

The markets have two problems with US President Trump’s approach to the trade talks. The first is he is so unpredictable that it makes it very difficult for commentators and forecasters to come up with a well-based vision of what the future holds. The second is there is a nagging worry that the US China … Continue reading “Trade: Will Trump rediscover the art of the deal?”

Davos: world leaders miss out on the personal touch

In some ways Davos looks much the same as in previous years. The world’s great and good from politics, academia, business and the media have once again descended on Switzerland. The combination of all of these companies and leaders from around the world in an otherwise quiet and rural backwater is as incongruous as ever. … Continue reading “Davos: world leaders miss out on the personal touch”

How trade wars have affected emerging market returns

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index, a measure of emerging markets (EM) equities, was down 14.3% in 2018, but this masked a considerable dispersion of returns, particularly in US dollar terms. Turkey was the year’s worst performer, thanks to a collapse in the lira, with equities losing investors 57.6% in dollar terms. The best performing major … Continue reading “How trade wars have affected emerging market returns”

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”

How the Brexit delay has moved markets – and what it means for the economy

As Theresa May meets European leaders seeking a better Brexit deal, the UK economy heads for a period of heightened uncertainty and stagflation. Markets faced further uncertainty after the Prime Minister Theresa May began a series of European meetings in the hope of securing an improved deal on Brexit. However, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the … Continue reading “How the Brexit delay has moved markets – and what it means for the economy”

Inescapable investment truths for the decade ahead

It seems clear to us that the world investors have got used to over the last few years is very different to the one we need to get accustomed to in the years to come. We have identified a number of economic forces and disruptive forces we think will shape the investment landscape ahead of … Continue reading “Inescapable investment truths for the decade ahead”

Fear not – volatility is normal

After the long period of rather calm markets in 2016-17, we predicted that from 2018 onwards, we would see a return towards more normal levels of market volatility. Swings up and down in share prices – even big moves – are normal behaviour for markets. The upside from investing in equity markets is the potential … Continue reading “Fear not – volatility is normal”

UK economic outlook hinges on May selling deal

The UK government and European Commission have announced that the broad terms of the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement have been finalised. This lays the path for completion in the next few weeks, and the UK entering a transition period following its exit from the European Union on 29 March 2019. The 585-page draft agreement follows most … Continue reading “UK economic outlook hinges on May selling deal”

Market Turbulence

Market falls never feel pleasant, but for those with long-term investment horizons there is no need to panic. Fluctuations, sometimes significant ones, are to be expected during the course of investing; and for those requiring the assurance of no fall in capital the only asset class that can be considered is cash. This is the … Continue reading “Market Turbulence”

How to survive a zombie company apocalypse

Zombie companies do exist but are not staffed by people that behave like extras in the “Walking Dead”. Actually, a zombie company is a technical term for a business which, if it is not yet numbered among the undead, is only earning just enough cash to pay the interest on its borrowings. It does not … Continue reading “How to survive a zombie company apocalypse”

China’s growth surprise is just the start

With the impact of tariffs yet to show up in the data, and the looming threat of a property slowdown, the larger-than-expected slowdown in Chinese growth is a taste of things to come. The larger-than-expected slowdown in reported Chinese GDP, to 6.5% from 6.7% in the second quarter, has seemingly spooked markets and pushed policymakers … Continue reading “China’s growth surprise is just the start”

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”

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”