Will it be smooth sailing for markets until the end of the year?

Schroders Keith Wade & Aymeric Forest look at whether equities can sustain their stellar run in view of the coming reduction in central bank liquidity, geopolitical tensions, currency moves and stretched valuations? Equities underpinned by solid synchronised global growth The global economy is on a firm and synchronised upward trajectory, which is increasingly industrial-led and underpinned … Continue reading “Will it be smooth sailing for markets until the end of the year?”

When economic pessimism means more hikes, not fewer

There has been a striking shift in recent Bank of England (BoE) communication. In the minutes of its September meeting, policy makers noted that “some withdrawal of monetary stimulus is likely to be appropriate over the coming months.” This message was then reiterated in speeches by noted ‘dove’ Gertjan Vlieghe and Bank Governor Mark Carney. … Continue reading “When economic pessimism means more hikes, not fewer”

Inflation is dead, long live inflation

When the Federal Reserve and other central banks introduced quantitative easing in response to the global financial crisis, the loudest and most persistent criticism was that such actions would unleash a major surge in inflation. The reality has been very different. Inflation has persistently fallen short of central bank targets and economic forecasts for the … Continue reading “Inflation is dead, long live inflation”

The US Fed must learn from mistakes of the crisis

A decade is a long time in central banking. Ten years ago Ben Bernanke used his speech at the Jackson Hole symposium for central bankers to explain the tumult that was rippling through financial markets at the time. He explained that while there were problems in the US housing market, the global financial system was … Continue reading “The US Fed must learn from mistakes of the crisis”

Broken-hearted again …

Having raised interest rates by 0.25 percentage points in June, the Federal Open Market Committee has indicated that it expected to hike rates once more this year and that it plans to begin its balance-sheet normalisation program (its plan to sell off the assets that it purchased under quantitative easing) “relatively soon”. In the UK, … Continue reading “Broken-hearted again …”

QE: The Beginning of the End

To limit the damage from the financial crisis, central bankers were forced into Quantitative Easing (QE) on a massive scale, in possibly the largest ever monetary policy experiment. The policy worked and confidence returned to financial markets. Nearly a decade on from those events, are we now looking at the end to QE and the … Continue reading “QE: The Beginning of the End”

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?”

UK GDP growth remains sluggish

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show the UK economy saw a small pick-up in GDP growth, but the overall environment remains sluggish. The preliminary estimate shows second quarter GDP growth at 0.3% compared to 0.2% in the first quarter, and matching consensus expectations. To put the recent growth figures into context, the … Continue reading “UK GDP growth remains sluggish”

Curve ball

Governments aren’t the only things proving to be less than strong and stable these days. Take the Phillips Curve, which describes the relationship between unemployment and wage growth. As unemployment falls, using up spare capacity in the labour market, it makes intuitive sense that wage growth starts to pick up. Given the key role played … Continue reading “Curve ball”

Has unconventional monetary policy had its day?

“People will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it’s unconventional,” so said Warren Buffett in an interview for Time magazine in 2008.  Buffett wasn’t referring to monetary policy specifically, but there’s some truth in his adage if we apply it to the more controversial tools that central banks have used since … Continue reading “Has unconventional monetary policy had its day?”

China: policy support offsetting structural headwinds

Despite concerns that China’s economy was undergoing a ‘hard landing’ in January 2016, fiscal, monetary and other government policy stimulus ensured that it was growing slightly faster at the end of the year than it had been at the start. Nevertheless, with the country in the middle of a structural transition from investment towards consumption, … Continue reading “China: policy support offsetting structural headwinds”

Japan: a leveraged play on global growth?

Japan’s nascent economic recovery is showing encouraging signs, with some strength in the labour market and a favourable corporate environment. However, domestic demand remains weak and it appears that cultural headwinds will have to be addressed before a virtuous circle of rising domestic demand and inflation can begin. Meanwhile, Japan’s asset markets are being distorted … Continue reading “Japan: a leveraged play on global growth?”

A decade to forget for savers

It is a decade since the start of the financial crisis. What started in the US housing market later engulfed the global economy and is having an enduring legacy on the UK – perhaps most notably on savers. The first signs of the financial crisis emerged in April 2007 when New Century Financial, a US … Continue reading “A decade to forget for savers”

Foreign exchange: a major contributor to portfolio returns

In recent years, subdued global inflation and weak growth have allowed the world’s major central banks to keep monetary policy at extremely accommodative levels. However, this may be changing, as global growth and inflation forecasts have risen amid a shift towards fiscal stimulus in a number of developed economies. With the Federal Reserve (Fed) simultaneously … Continue reading “Foreign exchange: a major contributor to portfolio returns”

Trump in the White House – all expectations out the window

The election of Donald Trump as the next US president has been a game-changer thus far for fixed income markets, upending all expectations of what will happen next. One thing is for sure, though: Trump’s policies will have a major, far-reaching impact on bond markets. Trump has promised two broad changes – greater fiscal stimulus … Continue reading “Trump in the White House – all expectations out the window”