After some remarkable ups and downs in 2018, asset prices have come back to earth and global growth is now firmly in low gear. The US Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE) withdrawal with four interest rate hikes last year made an impact across the board from widening corporate bonds to battered emerging market currencies and we expect this and the reaction to other central banks’ tightening to provide a headwind for the wider markets in Q1 of 2019.
As 2018 winds down, we are faced with the fact that Brexit and the cloudy uncertainties it poses on UK businesses and investors continues to drag on. Although it is difficult to predict what will happen given the range of outcomes and indeed the range of forecasts on the impacts of those outcomes, we at Canada Life Investments in London feel it is important to communicate a brief analysis of it as we move into 2019.
Tomorrow happens to be Canada Day, which celebrates the 1867 unification of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into what we now know as Canada. I have just returned from a trip to Canada, attending a number of conferences and meetings with our group clients and colleagues. It was my first visit to the country and, perhaps most surprisingly to me, was the difference in the prevailing political environment.
The UK earlier this month unveiled its first Budget since the public’s vote to leave the EU last year. It was a largely uneventful statement, with many of the planned initiatives telegraphed to the press well ahead of the day. In fact, the most controversial element of the Budget was the plan to increase national insurance contributions for the self-employed, a move embarrassingly ditched just a few days later.