Can Japan stay on course?

As the Japanese market hits a new 20 year high, what impact will the upcoming snap election have? The Japanese economy is growing well this year, and corporate earnings are coming in with good gains. The yen has been weak for a long time, Japanese multinationals are competitive, and the Central Bank remains very accommodative. … Continue reading “Can Japan stay on course?”

Japan’s election uncertainty

Call a snap election.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, as embattled UK Prime Minister Theresa May could tell us (in between coughing fits) — plenty.  And yet Shinzo Abe, Japan’s premier, is set to go down the same path. Will he regret his decision to summon the country to the polls in October? At … Continue reading “Japan’s election uncertainty”

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”

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”

North Korea is a problem for China – if only the US would realise

North Korea now has nuclear warheads that it can attach to missiles, that can travel great distances – to Guam, almost certainly, the nearest offshore US territory, and, with a bit of practice perhaps heavily populated parts of the US mainland. It sounds scary, but then Russia, China and others have had this capability for … Continue reading “North Korea is a problem for China – if only the US would realise”

Mr Draghi worries about growth

ECB President Mario Draghi brought a surfeit of pessimism to the Jackson Hole meeting of central bankers. He argued that the 2% trend rate of growth for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rich countries prior to the banking crash of 2008 has now halved to a trend rate of around just 1%. … Continue reading “Mr Draghi worries about growth”

What’s wrong with low interest rates?

Interest rates are low, but is this a problem?  After all, in times gone by the worry was that rising interest rates killed off economic expansions. You know the story: inflation picks up as economic slack diminishes; central banks slam on the brakes; and recession follows. Since the global financial crisis, however, interest rates (and … Continue reading “What’s wrong with low interest rates?”

Brazil and Venezuela struggle with their economies

Since 2014 the output of the Brazilian economy has fallen by 9%, before starting a small recovery this year. Meanwhile in its smaller northern neighbour, Venezuela, the government has stopped producing official economic figures because the performance of the economy is so poor. The IMF thinks the Venezuelan economy contracted by 8% in 2016 alone, … Continue reading “Brazil and Venezuela struggle with their economies”

How to invest in times of political change

The last few years have thrown up a series of political surprises. Rank outsiders overturning the odds have become so normal that equity markets have learnt to brace for impact and as a result, those impacts have become more muted. Political leaders and commentators appear to have accepted that old rules may not hold even … Continue reading “How to invest in times of political change”

The Euro shares rally and French reform

The Eurostox index reached depressed December levels last year when many market participants feared that an anti-euro government might be elected in the Netherlands or France. It rallied to a high in May of this year, putting on around 20%. Markets anticipated the French election result and relaxed about the immediate prospects for the Euro. … Continue reading “The Euro shares rally and French reform”

Why the markets ignore North Korea

Kim Jong Un, the North Korea leader, has consistently provoked the US and South Korea. A series of ballistic missile tests, nuclear weapons development, a substantial conventional weapons arsenal, chemical stockpiles and aggressive statements are a reminder that this authoritarian thug regime wishes to be noticed and is working to achieve greater military power. Meanwhile … Continue reading “Why the markets ignore North Korea”

The art of the deal and tax cuts for the US

President Trump promised the USA the art of the deal when he came to office. He conjured a view of a successful businessman cutting a better deal for working America, with a new approach to trade, tax, infrastructure spending and the rest to promote a more prosperous country. Seven months on, some are asking if … Continue reading “The art of the deal and tax cuts for the US”

Are markets underestimating geopolitical risk?

Every week it appears that North Korea tests a missile that falls safely in the Sea of Japan. Saudi Arabia and its close neighbour Qatar are having a spat about terrorism funding, could they come to blows and what would that mean for the oil price? Should we worry about such events? And how will … Continue reading “Are markets underestimating geopolitical risk?”