The strong economy together with the good sentiment on financial markets supports the preference of the investors towards riskier asset classes. Inflation in the developed economies remains subdued. Many market participants expect inflation to moderately pick up during the course of the year. US Federal Reserve bank will continue its policy of moderate rate increases. At least three more interest rate hikes are realistic in 2018. For the Eurozone a first increase of the base rate is expected in the coming year at the earliest.
What are Bitcoins?
Bitcoins were developed in 2009 as a virtual, digital currency by one person or group with the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoins are not physically tangible and are thus also difficult to grasp mentally for many.
The current environment is very positive for the capital markets: strong growth, low inflation, supportive monetary policies, good earnings growth, and low volatilities, i.e. fluctuations. Also, the numerous risks have not had a significantly negative impact on prices. However, the phase of rising prices started as early as March 2009. This environment implies that any change in the relevant parameters such as growth, inflation, and monetary policy would be tantamount to deterioration, given that improvement is not possible anymore. The most important question asked by investors at the outset of 2018 is therefore whether this positive environment is still here to stay.
Capital markets recorded a positive year of 2017. The performance of the various asset classes was of the textbook variety: the higher the risk, the higher the return. At slightly more than 1%, even low-yield asset classes such as euro government bonds or US Treasuries (in USD) posted positive rates of return1). This came as a surprise seeing that many experts had expected higher yields for government bonds, which would have come with negative effects on prices.
Global economic growth is very robust, and the emerging economies have picked up momentum. The purchasing managers’ indices in November had dropped slightly from previous levels, suggesting a moderate slowdown of Q4 global economic growth.
Earlier this week, we convened the last Investment Committee of 2017. The general risk appetite of the team has not changed vis-à-vis the previous month (from 78.85 percent to 79 percent on our 0 – 100 percent scale). The team continues to see the future optimistically, with a resulting “risk on” stance.
Logistics makes sure the economy keeps moving. Today our world would not be conceivable without it.
From an economic point of view, the multiple transport of goods across Europe does make sense but from a sustainable point of view, the environment suffers from increased CO2 and fine particle pollution, exhaust gases and noise. The speed at which goods are transported increases steadily and thus also the burden of the workers involved therein.
2017 is drawing to an end, and the bottom line is positive. The outcome is significantly better than we had expected. Since the financial crisis in 2008, the global economy has never expanded more quickly and especially concertedly than in 2017. Also, inflation has surprised on the downside, falling short yet again of the expectations held by central banks and analysts.
Guest author: Jenny Teng, Senior Fund Manager
Jenny Teng is senior fund manager in the equity team of Erste AM. Born in China she is employed since 2008 at ERSTE-SPARINVEST and responsible for the Asian equity markets.
Certainly, the National Congress of the Communist Party of China held every five years in Beijing is an important political event, but this year’s Party Congress was a milestone. It marked that a new era has begun in China. President Xi Jinping cemented his power further as China’s paramount leader, a leader, who might rule the country on the coming decade, a leader, who has high ambitions.