Despite heightened geopolitical risk, questionable political decision-making and monetary policy uncertainty, markets have been remarkably stable so far in 2017. At Canada Life Investments, our quarterly asset mix meetings – which bring together all of our investment professionals – provide us with the opportunity to set out our expectations for asset prices for the quarter ahead.
In July, seemingly more hawkish comments from the Bank of England (BoE) and European Central Bank (ECB) saw global bond yields spike upwards, having spent much of 2017 relentlessly falling despite a more positive economic environment. Given this background, what is the outlook for cash and cash-plus investors?
Globally, government bond yields have remained incredibly low, despite the cyclical pick-up we have seen in economic growth in recent times. Nowhere is this more evident than the Eurozone, which continues to post strong economic data. We believe bond markets need to catch up with the fundamental reality.
The impact that Brexit will have on asset prices remains unknown. At present, it appears that neither the credit nor the equity market are concerned, with regard to financials. Global economic growth remains robust and we forecast a relatively benign operating environment for companies in the UK and the Eurozone. But where are we finding attractive opportunities within the financials space?
The 9 August 2017 was regarded by many as the 10 year anniversary of the global financial crisis. The European Central Bank (ECB) and the US Federal Reserve (Fed) ploughed c. £45 billion into financial markets that day as the credit crunch began. Astonishingly, the UK base rate on that day stood at 5.75%. Since the 5 March 2009, it has only ever been 0.50% or lower.