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?”

War of Words

Global stockmarkets suffered another month of losses in March, with investors becoming unnerved by the potential fallout of an impending trade war. This has been instigated by President Trump expressing an intention to impose tariffs across a wide range of imports, with China the prime target. Given there tends to be no winners in a … Continue reading “War of Words”

Bad news and good news for markets

Woes have come together in recent days for share markets. As if Mr Trump’s threats of a trade war were not enough, the President has now joined with others in criticising the business model and tax charges of some leading tech companies. After months of leadership by Nasdaq we saw the tech index falling as … Continue reading “Bad news and good news for markets”

Down But Not Out

February started where January left off – providing investors with a timely reminder that global markets fall quicker than they rise. Strong US employment numbers and evidence of wage growth fuelled investor concerns over inflation and the prospect of a more aggressive US interest rate cycle. This led to a sharp sell-off in equity markets … Continue reading “Down But Not Out”

Trump’s tariffs

Last week, the White House announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum of 25% and 10% respectively – a move that sparked global indignation and threats of a trade war. But tariffs are more common than you may imagine. Almost every US president since Ronald Reagan has announced a tariff of one kind or another. … Continue reading “Trump’s tariffs”

Italian election yields a bitter stalemate

Italy is not usually known for its political stability, so the results of its general election come as no surprise. The bitter and divisive contest yielded no overall winner, but the swing towards populist extremist parties could be a concern. Based on exit polls, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement appears to be the single biggest … Continue reading “Italian election yields a bitter stalemate”

Time to revisit the Italian election

Markets have been relaxed about the Italian election.1 Last year it was on the investment radar as a potential risk to the euro and the Eurozone, with the Five Star movement leading in the polls and expressing scepticism about the single currency. As they did well so the new leadership of Five Star toned down … Continue reading “Time to revisit the Italian election”

The US budget should help economic growth

The Trump administration White House has set out its preferred budget for 2019. It is likely the House and Senate will wish to tone down its dramatic proposals. The President’s wish is to boost military and veterans expenditure substantially, whilst cutting back hard on various other departments and programmes. A 13% increase in defence is … Continue reading “The US budget should help economic growth”

A weak dollar is a tailwind for global growth

The 10% depreciation of the trade-weighted US dollar over the past year is an underappreciated driver of the synchronised upswing in world trade and global economic growth. That’s because movements in the US dollar have global consequences above and beyond movements in any other currency – dollar appreciation tends to crimp global trade and credit … Continue reading “A weak dollar is a tailwind for global growth”

One year of Trump

January 20th marked Donald Trump’s one-year anniversary as US President.  So far, his tenure has proved controversial and divisive, both domestically and abroad. His attempts to take credit for the performance of the US economy and equity market should be taken with a pinch of salt, particularly given the considerable momentum carried over from his … Continue reading “One year of Trump”

How do you say déjà vu in Spanish?

Actions will speak louder than the words for Latin America’s populists in 2018. Nearly two out of three Latin Americans will choose a new leader over the next 12 months. Chile and Honduras have kicked off the year-long cycle. Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay and possibly Venezuela will follow next year. Observers are worried … Continue reading “How do you say déjà vu in Spanish?”

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?”

Outlook 2018: Another good year for investors?

As investors look ahead to a new year, they could be forgiven for wondering whether they will be as pleasantly surprised in 2018 as they were in 2017. A number of political worries on the horizon this time last year signally failed to materialise, including the likely shape of President Trump’s trade policies, the rise … Continue reading “Outlook 2018: Another good year for investors?”

Signal or noise? Political risk in 2018

Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Terrorism. Populism. A newly emboldened Russia. The world is an unsettled place, but financial markets are relatively calm. A few factors could yet jolt them. US equity markets have generated significant gains over the last year, despite the headlines speculating over possible Russian interference in the US presidential election, … Continue reading “Signal or noise? Political risk in 2018”