Italy’s 66th government since WW2 looks set to fall

Trade continues to dominate the headlines with Donald Trump’s tweets around US tariffs driving sentiment. The emergence of China’s appetite to use its currency as a shock absorber also added volatility. August’s volumes are traditionally lighter and that helped catalyse a very weak start for US equities albeit a lot of the losses had been … Continue reading “Italy’s 66th government since WW2 looks set to fall”

Unwise to chase the rally in European equities

Although the eurozone economy is struggling, European assets have performed strongly in recent weeks as policymakers at the European Central Bank (ECB) have made it clear that they are ready to implement another round of monetary stimulus. Nevertheless, we remain pessimistic about the eurozone economy’s prospects and sceptical of the ECB’s ability to stimulate growth. … Continue reading “Unwise to chase the rally in European equities”

Trump’s bid to take on the EU could crush the German economy

The EU’s Trade Commissioner held out an olive branch to Donald Trump last week as the bloc tries to prevent tariffs being put on the auto sector – but the move looks likely to fail. An escalating trade dispute between Brussels and Washington now appears inevitable – and Germany will feel most of the pain … Continue reading “Trump’s bid to take on the EU could crush the German economy”

Pressures on the EU as elections loom

We are in the long run up to the European Parliamentary elections. This will be followed by the appointment of a new European Commission. It means there will be an argument over the future direction of EU and euro policy, with a wide range of views from those who with En Marche in France want … Continue reading “Pressures on the EU as elections loom”

Will the world authorities do enough to stimulate their economies?

Markets signalled the slowdown now underway in industrial output and investment with a sharp sell-off at the end of last year. They challenged the Federal Reserve in particular to ease its tough stance, which it duly did as 2019 dawned. US policy is to spend more and tax less, offering some budget boost to the … Continue reading “Will the world authorities do enough to stimulate their economies?”

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”

Why is this such a worried bull market?

Normally bull markets are full of people who are optimistic. They radiate enthusiasm for economies and shares. They hunt down markets or individual stocks that look cheap compared to the rest and recommend them. They recommend simply buying the global or local market to join in a general uplift in shares they expect. Eventually you … Continue reading “Why is this such a worried bull market?”

Can European politics damage the euro?

It is often fashionable to worry about European politics as newer parties of the right, left and centre emerge to challenge the economic orthodoxy of the Eurozone. We saw this at its most spectacular in Greece, where Syriza swept aside the old parties and gained a majority in a proportional system designed to make that … Continue reading “Can European politics damage the euro?”

Eurozone: Political risk still simmering

The major political obstacles, which had held back European risk assets, have now been overcome. However, events in Austria, Spain and Italy highlight the ongoing trend towards populist, nationalist and now regionalist sentiment. In Austria, although the far right Freedom Party (FPÖ) was recently defeated in elections for the legislative parliament, it could enter government … Continue reading “Eurozone: Political risk still simmering”

The politics of identity stalk European markets

Earlier this year investors worried that the euro was under threat. Its very future in the Netherlands and in France was on the ballot paper. As many of us expected, the euro survived its brush with democracy. In the Netherlands the anti-euro party topped the poll, but well short of the seats needed to govern … Continue reading “The politics of identity stalk European markets”

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”

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”

Markets shrug at May’s Florence speech

Theresa May’s speech confirmed that the UK is seeking a transition period but gave few further details on the final shape of Brexit. Investors had hoped that Prime Minister Theresa May’s Florence speech would be the factor that pushed Brexit negotiations forward. However, the speech was a slightly softer version of her Lancaster House speech … Continue reading “Markets shrug at May’s Florence speech”

The German elections and the markets

Earlier this year markets were stalked by talk of political risk in the Eurozone. The euro itself was on trial in the Dutch and French elections. Like many in the markets we thought the euro would win, and European shares would rise to reflect the quickening pace of economic recovery in the zone. So it … Continue reading “The German elections and the markets”