Are we witnessing the US dollar’s fall from grace?

A world in which money is scarce might appear to be a far-fetched idea. But for US banks in the business of taking deposits and making loans, this has become a reality. The chart below shows a global shortage of US dollars has emerged, shown in the left hand vertical axis in  billions. It has … Continue reading “Are we witnessing the US dollar’s fall from grace?”

The six biggest bull runs since 1962 (and their corrections)

The current bull market in US stocks started in March 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis and is the longest in recent history, beating the rally between July 1962 and May 1970 by over four years. At the time of writing, the bull market is still going. US stocks are up more … Continue reading “The six biggest bull runs since 1962 (and their corrections)”

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?”

It really is a digital world

Over the last ten years of recovery from the boom and bust of the western banking crash, shares have performed well. World equities have produced a return of 155% over the decade. The years have been characterised in the advanced world by an unusual combination of low interest rates and low inflation. Cheap imports from … Continue reading “It really is a digital world”

China oil deal with Iran could derail trade talks

Don’t get too excited about the current thaw in the trade war. Despite both sides appearing to talk up the prospects of a deal ahead of talks that resumed in Washington yesterday, there has been a major development that could put any final agreement at risk. Since talks were last held, China has signed a … Continue reading “China oil deal with Iran could derail trade talks”

A cyber-curtain is set to divide the world

A new Cold War looks likely as the US and China increasingly diverge and fall into dispute. What are the implications for investors? The strong exchanges on technology between the US and China point to a world where there are two different systems, with a cyber-curtain descending between them both. Meanwhile, in a series of … Continue reading “A cyber-curtain is set to divide the world”

Looking back at the markets through June

A selection of articles looking back through the markets last month. Brexit: no further forward   Global market review The third anniversary of the Brexit referendum came and went in June, and still the issue of Brexit remained up in the air. As the clock ticked towards the extended deadline of 31 October, the Conservative … Continue reading “Looking back at the markets through June”

Are profits no longer required?

The number of loss-making companies listing on the US stock exchange is approaching a 30-year high, according to new research. Indeed, the average company going through an IPO is now making a loss (IPO stands for initial public offering, the term used when a private company goes public by listing on the stock market). Perhaps … Continue reading “Are profits no longer required?”

Mr Trump’s torrent of trade tweets

Financial markets are being buffeted by President Trump’s tweets on trade. What are the short and long-term implications of this new style of policy making in the US? Tactical tweeting Since the summer of last year, investors have had to look at Twitter far more often. President Trump has used this form of social media … Continue reading “Mr Trump’s torrent of trade tweets”

Looking back at the markets through May

Although the US and China had been widely expected to agree a trade deal, US President Donald Trump instead confounded hopes by announcing that tariffs on over US$200 billion-worth of imports from China would increase from 10% to 25%.  In response, China raised tariffs on US$60 billion-worth of US goods. Share prices fell heavily in … Continue reading “Looking back at the markets through May”

Still on our way in May, watching for winners

Investing is a curious mixture of art and science. It is a world of phenomenally fast algorithmic trading, supplemented with old-fashioned sayings and adages concocted decades ago. Behavioural finance studies draw attention to the importance of ‘heuristics’. These are mental shortcuts or rules of thumb that ease the cognitive load in decision-making. The saying “sell … Continue reading “Still on our way in May, watching for winners”

Germany will pay the price for Italy’s provocation of Trump

The Italians have joined China’s controversial “New Silk Road” programme, a move that is likely to stoke the ire of Washington. At the weekend, Italian populists handed Donald Trump yet another reason to turn his trade guns on Europe, increasing the risk of a German recession. At a signing ceremony in Rome, Chinese President Xi … Continue reading “Germany will pay the price for Italy’s provocation of Trump”

Car crash in the motor industry?

Last year was not a good year for the world motor industry. Passenger car sales fell by 13% in the USA, by 9% in the UK, by 4% in China, by 3% in France and by 0.2% in Germany. In the USA higher interest rates reduced people’s willingness to take out car loans. In China … Continue reading “Car crash in the motor industry?”

G20 stare down does not de-escalate tensions

It would be easy to see last weekend’s G20 meeting a heralding a thaw in the US-China trade war. But it hasn’t. There are some positives. It looks increasingly likely that the US will not put in place a fresh 10-25% tariff hike in January on $250bn of Chinese exports, as most had thought. It … Continue reading “G20 stare down does not de-escalate tensions”

Trade deal leaves considerable uncertainty

President Trump decided to sit down with President Xi after all at the G20 Summit in Argentina. He had blown hot and cold about whether it was worthwhile to do so, and had threatened to carry on with his increases in tariffs on Chinese goods ahead of the meeting. Markets should be growing used to … Continue reading “Trade deal leaves considerable uncertainty”