The trade war between the US and China appears to be morphing into deeper and more protracted conflict as reflected in a recent speech by US Vice President Mike Pence, who criticised China not just for trade practices but more fundamentally for its broad political and economic model.
A trade deal was finally struck between the US and Canada that combined with the Mexico deal has been rebranded as "USMCA", though it could aptly be described as the same old NAFTA with a few tweaks.
As markets continue to grapple with the potential for a protracted trade war between China and the US, central banks have stuck to their task of setting monetary policy.
Equity pessimism took a breather in July as investors shifted focus from trade wars to the start of this quarter’s highly anticipated earnings season. With 53% of the companies in the S&P 500 reporting, over 80% had positive earnings-per-share surprises and almost 80% reported a positive sales surprise.
Financial markets continue to come to terms with a more protectionist and less globalised world. The surprise perhaps is not that tariffs have finally been imposed by the US on its trading partners, but that it took so long for a key campaign promise to become reality in spite of Republican control of the House, the Senate and the White House since November 2016.
Uncertainty surrounding Trump policy has reached new highs with global trade wars back on. Steel and aluminium tariff exemptions have been allowed to lapse for Canada, Mexico and Europe, and USD 50 billion in new technology-focused tariffs against China will be detailed by mid-June and imposed shortly thereafter.
After depreciating for over 18 months, the US dollar has managed to make a comeback, recouping its 5% YTD loss in a matter of weeks. Coupled with 10 year US Treasury (UST) yields hovering around 3%, this has put pressure on Emerging Markets (EM).
As much as we would prefer to discuss market fundamentals over the trials and tribulations of the current US Administration, it has been largely unavoidable in this first quarter of 2018.
Markets continue to come to terms with the return of higher volatility, triggered ostensibly by fears of inflation and the unwinding of highly leveraged short volatility positions at the beginning of last month.
In our 2018 outlook, we made the case for rising volatility as central banks across the developed world slowly remove the stimulus punch bowl, but few would have imagined volatility spiking with such a vengeance as it did in recent weeks.
Over the past few years, one of the main risks that concerned our team was the possibility that asset classes could become positively correlated.
What is the prognosis for Emerging Markets as major global central banks begin to tighten policy?
The Trump reflation trade may have lost some of its shine during the quarter, but any disappointment was more than overshadowed by strong global data as exports and production continued to gather pace.
Is Volatility too low and what re-pricing could mean for various asset markets
2016 may best be remembered as the year in which Trump won and the world changed. The question becomes which reforms will take centre stage.
Our Multi-Asset portfolio manager based in Singapore reviews the prospects for profit margin expansion in the three main Emerging Market regions.
Emerging markets (EM) have endured strong adjustments in commodities and currencies that coupled with reforms makes a good case for better growth ahead.
Many are wondering if it's time to give up on Abenomics. While some of the scepticism is understandable, we believe it is too early to throw in the towel.
The UK's late June vote in favour of 'Brexit' was initially read as a deep negative, particularly given that markets were priced strongly in favour of a 'Remain' vote. However, after brief reflection, markets outside the region saw a rally, with risk asset performance more than making up for Brexit losses.
Since 2011, Brazilian assets have re-priced to the downside. Given the size of the adjustment – both in commodities and assets – the question is whether Brazil is now presenting attractive investment opportunities.