Keep calm and carry on

An unexpected global pandemic has triggered the third bear market of the 21st century. At the start of the year, equity analysts had priced in profits growth of 5-10% a year, now they are downgrading their profits estimates by 5-10% a week. One of the deepest economic recessions since the 1930s will expose some well-known … Continue reading “Keep calm and carry on”

The importance of forecasting humility

It is natural to want to rush to judgement about the long-term changes the coronavirus pandemic will bring, whether in an attempt to get ahead of the game or simply impose some order amidst the chaos. But as understandable as that impulse is, it can also be dangerous, allowing highly speculative claims to circulate and … Continue reading “The importance of forecasting humility”

China standing out among emerging markets

Like those almost everywhere else, emerging markets (EMs) suffered a coronavirus shock in March. Having plunged by nearly a third in the early part of the month, however, EM share prices partly recovered towards the end. Promises of large-scale monetary and fiscal stimulus in the US arrested the declines, but EM stocks still had a … Continue reading “China standing out among emerging markets”

Surprises in European equities

Why have European equities performed so well in 2019 and what are the prospects for 2020? For much of 2019, European equities were an unloved asset class, shunned by investors. At first sight, this was understandable – the region is growing only slowly, wracked by political tensions and wrestling with headwinds in vital sectors such as … Continue reading “Surprises in European equities”

UK election: what does the result mean for the economy and investors?

Boris Johnson has been confirmed as prime minister after the Conservative party made sweeping gains. The Conservative majority government has three key implications for Brexit, which is the most pressing issue for the UK economy. First, it all but guarantees that the UK will leave the European Union (EU). This election was the last barrier … Continue reading “UK election: what does the result mean for the economy and investors?”

Is recession looming?

Are we about to have a global recession?  That was one of the many issues discussed at the Singapore Summit – a meeting of global policymakers and business leaders – Martin Gilbert, Chairman, Aberdeen Standard Investments,  attended earlier this month. Can monetary policies help prevent a global recession? There was a mix of opinions on … Continue reading “Is recession looming?”

Looking back at the markets through July

A selection of articles looking back through the markets last month.   Global market review Possibility of “no deal” moves closer Boris Johnson beat Jeremy Hunt during July to become the new leader of the Conservative Party and the UK’s new Prime Minister. The new Government’s harder-line approach to Brexit – and the increased prospect … Continue reading “Looking back at the markets through July”

Boris Johnson: the challenges faced by the new UK PM

Boris Johnson has won the Conservative Party leadership contest to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister. The former Foreign Secretary and Mayor of London beat Jeremy Hunt, the current Foreign Secretary by a wide margin: 66% to 34% of the votes. From the outset, Johnson must navigate a deeply divided party, and a shrinking majority … Continue reading “Boris Johnson: the challenges faced by the new UK PM”

Whatever it takes…to raise inflation

The European Central Bank has consistently failed to meet its inflation target in the seven years since the region’s sovereign debt crisis. Nor has the market any faith that it might do so in future. With the European Union (EU) elections out of the way, the horse-trading over a host of top EU jobs will … Continue reading “Whatever it takes…to raise inflation”

A good start to the year – where next?

As we move into March, global stocks have enjoyed the best start to the year in almost three decades. Does this bode well for the rest of 2019? History suggests it does. Since 1928, a good January/February has led to a positive calendar year over 80% of the time. However, history does not always rhyme … Continue reading “A good start to the year – where next?”

Does the US have enough firepower to fight the next recession?

With interest rates already near record lows, what’s left in the Fed’s arsenal to fight the next recession? Low starting interest rates means that the Federal Reserve (Fed) may need to expand its policy toolkit to fight an economic downturn. But if this proves insufficient, fiscal policy need to pick up the slack. The go-to … Continue reading “Does the US have enough firepower to fight the next recession?”

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?”

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?”

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?”

Keeping the faith: now is not the time to abandon inflation targets

Monetary policy is at an inflection point. The extraordinary support from central banks is being gradually scaled back as economies improve and financial markets remain calm. Yet investors remain sceptical about how much central banks will raise interest rates by, because inflation remains stubbornly low across most of the advanced world. Historically, declining unemployment has … Continue reading “Keeping the faith: now is not the time to abandon inflation targets”