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Resilient earnings growth across all regions

Corporate earnings growth for Q1 2017 surprised positively across major economies. Among the key trends of this earnings season has been the synchronisation not only of the macroeconomic cycle, but also the earnings cycle. Indeed, all markets exhibited strong trends in corporate profit growth. In particular, Japan and Europe provided significant positive surprises. The strong […]

China: rising debts a long-term concern, but short-term crisis unlikely

Moody’s announced on 24 May that it had downgraded China’s long-term local currency and foreign currency issuer ratings to A1 from Aa3, due to its concerns about the rising debt in China. According to our estimate, China’s total debt amounted to Rmb203 trillion as of the end of 2016, equivalent to 261% of its nominal […]

Looking to the politicians, ‘Perspectives’, June-July 2017

With the election of Emmanuel Macron as French president, the tide of populism may have been stemmed for the moment in western Europe. Has Europe’s political class found the formula for dealing with the phenomenon? “I wouldn’t bet my investment career on it,” answers Pictet Wealth Management’s (PWM) chief investment manager, Cesar Perez Ruiz, in […]

Trump’s proposed budget is light on details

President Trump’s budget request was issued yesterday. Higher defence and infrastructure spending are proposed, more than compensated for by drastic cuts in other spending. The consequence is that total outlays are reduced dramatically. On the revenue side, the budget plan was very short on details. It assumes that tax cuts will be neutral for the […]

Fed funds rate back to 3%?

Janet Yellen refers regularly to the concept of ‘neutral’ interest rate as a reference point for monetary policy. The neutral rate is very helpful in determining whether the Fed’s monetary stance is relaxed or restrictive and can also provide insight into the Fed’s next possible moves. The financial crisis has had a considerable impact on […]

Moderate recovery underway in Japan

Japan’s GDP grew by 1.6% year-over-year in Q1 in real terms. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, the economy expanded by 2.2% annualised, the highest growth rate since Q1 2016. In light of the stronger-than-expected Q1 figure, we have decided to revise up our 2017 GDP growth forecast for Japan to 1.3% from 0.8% previously. Exports continued […]

The populist wave may be yet to peak

Populist parties have been on the rise in Western democracies in recent years. They have already achieved two landmark successes, with Brexit and Trump, and are threatening breakthroughs elsewhere. We see six main drivers of the populist surge: rising economic insecurity, globalisation, a technological innovation shock, cultural backlash, broader socio-economic change, and fragmentation of information […]

Euro area business confidence remains strong

The euro area May PMI indices remained consistent with Mario Draghi’s assessment of the ongoing recovery as “solid and broad”. The composite flash PMI remained stable at 56.8 in May, against expectations of a small decline. This apparent stability masked further improvement in the largest member states as business confidence outperformed in the French services […]

The ECB debates sequencing of policy moves

Recent comments from ECB executive board member Benoît Coeuré have confirmed that the ECB is likely to make further changes to its communication at its 8 June meeting, moving towards a neutral stance despite a likely downward revision to the 2017 inflation staff forecast. Importantly, Coeuré sounded open to further changes to the ECB’s forward […]

Crypto-currencies in a bubble

Pictet’s inhouse quantitative analysis can provide ways of spotting certain kinds of bubble and predicting when they will burst (see article ‘Forecasting Financial Extremes’). One aspect of this analysis is focused on investor herding behaviour, as measured by the combination of super-exponential cycles and ever faster oscillations around those cycles. Peaks and troughs in these […]

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