Budget 2017 predictions

Chancellor Phillip Hammond will present his Autumn Budget to Parliament on Wednesday 22 November. The statement has been widely tipped to contain some concessions to younger voters but this will do little to relieve the pressure on maintaining fiscal targets. The Conservative Party conference in October outlined a number of policies aimed at courting younger … Continue reading “Budget 2017 predictions”

Is this the end of the global cycle?

Markets often have setbacks. There is always plenty to worry about. Recent price falls have not related to any one event or new fact that has emerged. Some people want to take some profits. Some people have become more nervous about how sustainable the recovery might be. Some worry that the Central Banks led by … Continue reading “Is this the end of the global cycle?”

Asian reforms and growth

The Asian economies are growing well, with their stock markets responding favourably to higher company earnings and dividends. Japan in particular has put in a strong performance in recent weeks in the wake of Mr Abe’s victory in an early election. Foreign investors have been keen to back the renewed government as it continues with … Continue reading “Asian reforms and growth”

Jay Powell nominated as next Fed Chair

President Trump has nominated Jay Powell as the next Chair of the US Federal Reserve. This was largely expected, despite Trump’s hosting of a somewhat convoluted selection process (involving a promotional video), which saw numerous candidates briefly take the role of favourite. The official changing of the guard occurs at the start of February next … Continue reading “Jay Powell nominated as next Fed Chair”

Eurozone: Political risk still simmering

The major political obstacles, which had held back European risk assets, have now been overcome. However, events in Austria, Spain and Italy highlight the ongoing trend towards populist, nationalist and now regionalist sentiment. In Austria, although the far right Freedom Party (FPÖ) was recently defeated in elections for the legislative parliament, it could enter government … Continue reading “Eurozone: Political risk still simmering”

Japanese elections: Shinzo shines

The gamble has paid off for Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe, with his ruling coalition maintaining its two-third “super majority” in the snap lower house elections. It was a thumping victory for Mr Abe, and one that will surely see him be re-elected for a third term in his party’s presidential election in September 2018. … Continue reading “Japanese elections: Shinzo shines”

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”