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France & Spain: Q1 GDP growth

France and Spain today became the first big countries in the euro area to publish GDP growth figures for Q1. French real GDP expanded by 0.3% q-o-q in Q1 2017, down from +0.5% q-o-q in Q4, and lower than what was expected by the consensus. The details were more encouraging than the headline figure. In […]

ECB: the courage not to act

The European Central Bank left policy and forward guidance unchanged at today’s meeting notwithstanding the “increasingly solid” recovery and “diminished” downside risks to the outlook. Our impression is that there is a strong consensus to “finish the job” by keeping the monetary stance very accommodative until the ECB sees signs of life in core consumer […]

China GDP beats expectations, but no change in core scenario

Chinese GDP grew 6.9% year-over-year (y-o-y) in real terms in Q1 2017, up from 6.8% in Q4 2016 and 6.7% for the full year of 2016. The strong growth figure beats both the consensus forecast (6.8%) and our own estimate (6.7%).  In nominal terms, the rise in GDP was even more significant, growing 11.8% over […]

Bank lending gives no ground for ECB to change stance

Credit standards on loans to euro area enterprises eased in Q1, according to the ECB’s Bank Lending Survey (BLS), released today. Although banks expect a small net tightening of credit standards across all loan categories in Q2, credit conditions remain broadly favourable in the euro area. Demand for credit continued to rise in Q1, albeit […]

Macron victory still raises questions for markets

The first round of the French presidential election has come as a relief for markets as a pro-European, reformist candidate came first and now looks very likely to win the second round. For once, opinion polls were fairly accurate in capturing voting intentions and last-minute momentum. But the result of the first round is not […]

Latest PMI numbers tilt growth forecast upwards

Euro area PMI surveys surprised to the upside in April. The composite flash PMI surged to 56.7 in April from 56.4 in March, above consensus expectations (56.4). Overall, April’s composite PMI is consistent with euro area GDP growth of 0.7% quarter over quarter (q-o-q) in Q2, up from 0.6% in Q1 and higher than our […]

French elections: a Le Pen win would hit euro area periphery

Our main scenario, a win for a Europhile politician in the second round of the French presidential elections in May, could result in a small relief rally on markets. However, the National Front’s Marine Le Pen is seen as being one of the two candidates to go through from the first round next Sunday to […]

Oil industry successfully reinvents itself again

In a ‘lower-for-longer price’ environment, there are still attractive themes and equity stories to play, assuming prices remain broadly above USD45-50 per barrel. Valuations generally remain reasonable, especially on the back of the correction since the start of the year. The growth theme is clearly the shale oil story, where both producers and services companies […]

Monthly Investment Strategy Highlights, April 2017

 Asset allocation The first quarter was exceptionally strong for risk assets, and the outlook remains good for developed market (DM) equities. We remain comfortable with our overweight in developed market equities, but it would be wise not to take too much risk in the coming quarter. EM assets may offer attractive opportunities on a tactical […]

U.S. job creation slows but unemployment drops to a new record low

Non-farm payrolls increased by 98,000 m-o-m in March, well below consensus expectations (180,000). Adverse weather conditions likely weighed on the aggregate numbers. Moreover, job creation averaged 177,000 in Q1 2017, above the Q4 average of 147,000. Importantly, the US unemployment rate fell to a new cycle low of 4.5% in March, from 4.7% in February. […]

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