Historically, inflation has tended to be correlated to the strength of the labour market. As unemployment decreases, the pool of available labour shrinks, enabling workers to demand higher wages. This feeds through to the overall price level, putting upward pressure on inflation. Today, however, we are seeing a puzzling global macroeconomic backdrop.
Retail sales growth has cooled over the last month, with the year-on-year (YoY) increase falling from 4.1% to 2.6% in March. With prospects for higher inflation coming through in 2017, much newsflow is centred around the prospect for weaker overall spending this year and the impact this will have on various industries and business segments. How do we maintain exposure to the domestic economy, whilst still protecting the portfolio from downside risk?