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”

US tax cuts: do the sums add up?

The US Senate recently passed its tax bill supporting the Trump administration’s tax reform measures, which call for a $1.5 trillion net tax stimulus. Supporters of these tax cuts have argued they will result in stronger economic growth, as did the tax cuts of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and George W Bush in the … Continue reading “US tax cuts: do the sums add up?”

The Bank of England: Having it all

Are you in favour of having your cake and eating it? If so, the Bank of England’s latest forecasts are for you. They show the Bank expecting a pick-up in the UK’s growth rate, with little change to the inflation outlook. This is an unusual combination: normally, inflation rises when activity accelerates, as spare capacity … Continue reading “The Bank of England: Having it all”

Will politics shake the global economy out of its torpor in 2017?

The strains of a global economy mired in a low growth, low inflation and low interest rate regime are showing. Populist, anti-establishment and anti-globalisation sentiment is on the rise across the developed markets. If this leads to a marked deterioration in the quality of economic decision making, it could spell the end of a seven-year … Continue reading “Will politics shake the global economy out of its torpor in 2017?”

Going global – and back again

Every year has its upsets, but 2016 seems to have thrown up more than most. With the Brexit referendum, with the election of US President Trump, and with the continued rise of insurgent populist movements elsewhere in the developed world, it feels as though we are heading for an economic and political crunch point. As … Continue reading “Going global – and back again”

Autumn statement 2016: will the sums add up?

The EU referendum result casts a long shadow over the chancellor’s 2016 Autumn Statement, resulting in a surprisingly modest downgrade to the economy’s growth prospects but a sharp worsening of its fiscal outlook. Within these tight parameters, Mr Hammond has done what he can: setting new fiscal rules, highlighting the UK’s long-term challenges, and raising … Continue reading “Autumn statement 2016: will the sums add up?”