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.
Following nearly a decade of central banks delivering a global programme of quantitative easing, asset prices have seen huge growth as investors have chased yield in an ever-lower yield world. However, the situation is now more nuanced. The US Federal Reserve (Fed) has embarked on a rate-rising cycle and more hawkish tones are emanating from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.
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.
With less dovish tones starting to emanate from central banks globally, relatively high valuations across equities and a cooling off in the London property market, it is safe to say that we are not spoilt for choice in terms of attractive opportunities. Following a somewhat volatile second quarter, how are we positioned for Q3?