Early autumn 2018 has seen equity markets stumble especially those stellar performing ‘tech’ stocks including the FAANGs (September 2018 blog) giving back some of their gains. The bull market long touted about its demise has now suffered the consequences of rising fear factors which have concerned international investors. Rising US interest rates, margins peaking due to wages rises and inflationary costs such as rising oil prices and the tailing of the quantitative easing programmes from the US Federal Reserve and the ECB all have added to investors’ woes. Read more
The cliches maybe old and tired but they usually contain an element of truth this time on what happens now in UK politics – it’s anyone’s game, all is possible, the cat is out of the bag and who knows what tomorrow brings or the worst possible outcome of all would be cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war as Europe has often witnessed, and recently too with Bosnia in 1990’s and Ukraine now although on the EU periphery it’s geographically part of Europe.
The polling cards have been delivered and the debate is at large for the referendum on the United Kingdom remaining or leaving the European Union on the 23rd June 2016.
The election result was never in doubt in the May 2016 Scottish Parliament elections it was more about who came in second place. The governing SNP won the election easily with 63 out of the 129 seats only 2 short of an outright majority although losing its parliamentary majority did take the shine off an otherwise good result again for the SNP.
US Republican nominee frontrunner Donald Trump appears at the moment to be the billionaire who has both the magic and the pong touch. He appeals to a section of disaffected voters across America, yet causes dismay and bemusement elsewhere. However, with his comments on whether women should be punished for abortion or not he has, bluntly put, handed Democratic front runner Senator Hilary Clinton a big club to beat him with.
Another year starting so what’s in store for investors and markets?
In 2015 the GDP of the US economy grew at 2.4%, the UK did 2.5% and the EU managed 1.5% with all its currency and migrant upheavals (GS, 2015). China slowed down yet still reported 6.9% causing investors or speculators a heap of disappointment or margin call troubles depending on what figures one believes. India performed better at 7.4% and seems to have the confidence of pundits for an improvement in 2016 to 7.8% (GS, 2015). Let’s hope so, as India the world’s largest democracy, has disappointed before and there’s still plenty of debt and cronyism in its large institutions.
The Labour party is in trouble and HM Opposition isn’t functioning properly. In an autumn statement where the UK Chancellor George Osborne announced U-turns on tax credit reform and public spending budgets including the police and with cash for military spending too. The Labour party had a golden opportunity to attack and ridicule the Conservative government for its change of heart and to question the soundness of their economic policies and assumptions for future growth.
Part 2: Turkish Delight
“When you are in the basement the only way is up,” is a comment from a Kurdish ex-pat friend on the expectation of better times ahead for his people.
So much for the UK’s unexpected electoral dramas over in Turkey there was a game changer for the ruling AKP and its power seeking President Erdogan. They were denied a majority for the 1st time for 13 years with the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) winning 13% of the vote in the June 2015 General Election and some 80 seats in the Turkish parliament and set to alter the political power structure in Turkey. Read more
Part 1: Conservatives Surprise
The UK General Election in May 2015 brought an unexpected win majority win for David Cameron’s Conservative Party, with red faces for the pollsters.
The Labour Party had a disaster, almost being wiped out in Scotland and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls losing his seat in West Yorkshire, frankly they have a mountain to climb as big as they faced since Michael Foot’s 1983 electoral defeat. The new UK and Scottish Labour leadership requires fresh faces with new ideas and a lot of patience, especially in Scotland where the SNP won a staggering 56 of 59 seats, to regain once loyal voters lost to the SNP by political attrition and inertia over decades. Read more
The friendly Commonwealth Games are underway in Glasgow. The Test Series between former British colony and now Commonwealth partner India continues in Southampton in Hampshire. The Golf Open and Wimbledon Tennis Championships are already past. The UK is enjoying some pleasant summer weather along with economic growth and GDP finally back above 2008 levels (though not per capita).