We are 7 years into a recovery and it doesn’t feel like much has happened. Interest rates and bond yields are close to or below zero; Gross Domestic Product [GDP] is weak and the world trade is falling.
The main issues for fund managers are:
Japan – After twenty years of recession and zero interest rates, the so called ‘Abeonomics’ has still not delivered positive growth and reduced unemployment.
Trump – If he wins the Presidency, it would probably spark uncertainty in the financial markets given his controversial policies, including his plans to build a physical wall on the border between the US and Mexico and to tear up trade agreements that he feels were not properly negotiated, thus sparking an outright global trade war.
Brexit – While Ireland has most to lose irrespective of how or when the UK exits the EU, most analysts believe the break-up will be a ‘lose-lose’ situation and that all sides will be worse off afterwards.
Putin – The invasion of the Ukraine and interference in Syria together with a lot of sabre rattling has left many people worried about Mr Putin’s intentions and what he might do next. The very real fear of a new world war cannot be entirely discounted.
Oil – the collapse in oil prices has plunged all former oil producing countries into trouble. Even Saudi Arabia, the biggest of them all has had to borrow on world markets to their balance their budget. It is hard to predict where the benchmark price of oil might ultimately lie.
Euro – although the Eurozone weathered the financial collapse, there are still concerns about EU banks. The fear is when the next big catastrophe occurs in world markets, the Eurozone will collapse.
Saudi v Iran – Both countries, through their proxies, is on opposite sides of nearly all the conflicts in the Middle East. Their policy of religious sectarianism is troubling with the export of terrorism a big worry and the huge influx of refugees into Europe a major issue.
Bond markets – When will interest rates rise, causing the bubble under bonds to collapse?