News this past week:
- Oil prices continue to decline
- Brexit negotiations begin
- Bank of England split over policy rate moves
- MSCI adds China A shares to All Country World Index
- Brexit bills dominate UK Queen’s speech
Politics again dominated in April with the big news for European investors being the relief that centralist Emmanuel Macron progressed to the second round of the French presidential election and has then went on to secure election ahead of Le Pen. Elsewhere, there was an announcement of a snap election in the UK and investors mulled over Trump’s first 100 days in office against the backdrop of weaker than expected US growth. Learn more
As UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls for an early general election to expedite the Brexit process, Glyn Owen, Investment Director of Momentum Global Investment Management, one of our UK regulated, discretionary investment managers shares his view of the markets and reviews first quarter of 2017.
News-wise it was an eventful month with the UK formally triggering Article 50 to begin the process of leaving the EU, the withdrawal of Trump’s healthcare bill, the US Fed raising rates by 0.25% and the Netherland’s avoiding the election of far-right candidate Geert Wilders.
PortfolioMetrix have just completed a formal asset allocation review for all portfolios, the results of which have just been implemented in their latest rebalance. How they decide on this asset allocation is reasonably technical, which they have already covered (the perhaps infamous ‘Black Litterman’ discussion), but they did want to highlight one key element of the process: PortfolioMetrix asset allocations are forward-looking, not backward-looking. Learn more
Its just a week until Britain is expected to trigger Article 50, sterling is at a three week high, UK inflation is at its highest since 2013, leaked EU documents suggest Britain could be kicked out EU and fined £50bn. Add to this that the Bank of England (BoE) Chief Economist Andy Haldane is postulating a base rate rise to 4.25% that could wipe out 1.5 million jobs but boost productivity in the long run. Scotland is pushing harder for another independence vote, and the BoE predicting a further retail slowdown: all in all perhaps enough commotion to burrow yesterday’s embarrassing infighting of the Labour Party. Or perhaps not. It seems that it doesn’t matter how old a nation’s democracy, advanced its economy or established its laws; political risk teeters when the populous lambast inequality and the public coffers are constrained by their own indebtedness.
Following Labour’s commotion yesterday, with Labour deputy leader Tom Watson clashing with shadow chancellor John McDonnell and an embarrassing parliament session feud, Jeremy Corbyn’s video address seemed a phony attempt to reassure members that the embarrassment only goes to prove that ‘spirits in the Labour party can run high’. Mercifully, attention is focused less on Labours potential disconnect and more on the impending Brexit annulment.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s ‘no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal’ is being threatened by the EU’s leaked plans for a prolonged legal battle, seeking £50bn of apparent dues, should the UK leave the EU with no deal. President of the European Council Donald Tusk promised to make ‘the process of divorce the least painful for the EU’ implying the obvious antithesis for the UK. But as difficult as the Brexit process could be, the legitimacy of the EU’s request for alimony seems tenuous and the potential damage to the EU from a go-it-alone Britain should prove a strong incentive for some sort of eventual deal.
British expats living abroad and foreign nationals based in the UK face being stung by a new 25 per cent tax charge if they move their pensions out of the UK.
New rules, which came into effect on 9 March, 2017 after being announced in the 2017 UK Spring Budget, will see the charge levied when retirement funds are transferred outside the UK, unless they meet strict criteria.
She said that the UK government will put the Brexit deal it agrees with the European Union to a parliamentary vote. She also vowed to make a ‘truly Global Britain’. “I want this United Kingdom to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before. I want us to be a secure, prosperous, tolerant country, a magnet for international talent,” May said.
The FTSE 100 traded negative after the speech. However, the sterling was up by more than 2.8 percent against the U.S dollar, putting it on track for its biggest daily increase since 1998.
Source: CNBC, 17 Jan