In this blog series, Charles shares his views on market moves, macro-economic developments, key investment trends and current affairs.
Friday, July 30, 2021Volatility high on investors’ minds
The US Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting unanimously agreed to hold rates where they are in the latest two-day meeting, which should not come as a surprise to many.
23 July 2021Eurozone recovery continues as UK growth slows
Eurozone Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data released on 23 July builds on the steady advances of the last few months as the broad economic recovery following lockdowns continues.
Wednesday, July 14, 2021CPI prints may sound Fed inflation alarms
Consumer Price Index (CPI) prints from the US came out this afternoon and the warning alarms are probably sounding at the Federal Reserve (Fed).
Wednesday, July 14, 2021UK inflation jumps again
Following on from the consumer inflation surprise in the US on 13 July, this side of the pond we have a similar shock.
16 June 2021UK inflation tops Bank of England target
UK inflation for May rose slightly faster than forecast to 2.1% year-on-year and is the highest level of inflation seen in nearly two years.
Monday, June 07, 2021Stimulus narrative set to continue
The US non-farm employment report released on 4 June had the potential for posing a bit of a quandary for short-term market direction.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021UK economic data reveals growth is moving faster than expected
Wednesday 12 May has been a big day for getting a sense of direction of the fortunes for the UK economy with no less than eight separate macro indicators released this morning from GDP and manufacturing and industrial production to business investment and trade balances.
Friday, May 07, 2021Markets react to big US jobs miss
What a difference a year makes with an effective vaccine rollout. This time last year US non-farm payrolls recorded its largest ever decline on record with over 20 million dropping out of the workforce in the month of April 2020 as the economy ground to a sudden stop.
07 May 2021The Bank of England holds interest rates at record lows
On the back of recent central bank action across the world, the Bank of England followed the narrative of holding interest rates at record lows of 0.1% and continuation of its asset purchase plan at GBP 875 billion.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021Inflation prints remain contained
Euro area inflation as measured through the flash consumer price index (CPI) estimate showed a 1.3% year-on-year advance – slightly below the consensus estimate of a 1.4% advance.
Wednesday, March 24, 2021UK pours cold water on inflation narrative
Just when the dominant market narrative was for higher inflation expectations, the UK poured cold(er) water on that theory.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021Furlough cannot last forever
The UK unemployment rate for the last recorded quarter that encompassed two separate lockdowns in the UK came in at 5%, slightly better than estimates of 5.2% and an improvement of 0.1% on the previous quarterly report.
Friday, March 12, 2021Energy prices lift US inflation print
With energy costs now firmly in an ascending pattern (the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil is up 26% so far this year and has doubled over a rolling year) it should be of no surprise that this inflationary effect is starting to show up in published inflation numbers.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021Tentative signs of rising inflation
We are seeing tentative signs of rising inflation in the UK with January’s Consumer Prices Index (CPI) print rising 0.7% over the year, on the back of a 0.6% increase seen in December.
Friday, February 12, 2021UK suffers biggest slump in G7
The UK economy recorded a 1% advance in the fourth quarter of 2020 - better than expectations of 0.5% growth but don’t get the celebrations started just yet.
Thursday, February 04, 2021A no to negative rates
Thursday, January 28, 2021A wild momentum ride
The US Federal Reserve (Fed) left interest rates unchanged at the near zero level on 27 January with Fed officials stated that they remain committed to continue buying bonds until inflation and growth expectations are met.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021America's reset
UK inflation, as measured through consumer price inflation (CPI), remains low at +0.6% year on year, well below the Bank of England’s (BoE) target, but in line with market expectations.
Monday, January 18, 2021UK at risk of double-dip recession
The UK economy fell by 2.6% in the month of November, slightly better than forecast but this does not bode well for overall fourth quarter growth.
Friday, December 11, 2020Central banks reaching firepower limits
Thursday, December 10, 2020UK GDP print shows continued Covid-19 damage
Friday, December 04, 2020A far from positive US economic story
On the face of it a slightly improving initial jobless claims yesterday of 712,000 versus 775,000 expected was a welcome fillip for markets to digest on the back of continuing positive coronavirus vaccine news.
Thursday, November 26, 2020Sunak's spending review highlights bleak outlook
The anticipated but much-leaked spending review from Chancellor Rishi Sunak on 25 November highlighted the difficult bind the UK economy is currently in, with Sunak tacitly acknowledging that the “economic emergency has only just begun”.
Thursday, November 05, 2020Bank of England ups stimulus again
A quickly rescheduled Bank of England (BoE) meeting on the morning of 5 November, to front run an expected announcement of additional help to households and businesses from Chancellor Rishi Sunak at midday, saw an increase in total quantitative easing government bond purchases of an extra GBP 150 billion to GBP 895 billion, but importantly no move on interest rates into negative territory.
Thursday, November 05, 2020US jobs figures not pointing to sharp recovery
Wednesday, November 04, 2020US election result hangs in the balance
If 2020 couldn’t get any worse, we now have the potential for a contested US election result with no clear winner at this moment in time in the race to 270 Electoral College votes and the keys to the US presidency.
Friday, October 23, 2020Stimulus package absent as US election nears
Wednesday, October 21, 2020UK inflation remains stubbornly below target
Tuesday, October 13, 2020UK redundancies spike
Redundancies in the UK jobs market have spiked, following a very similar trajectory seen in the last financial crisis, with 114,000 jobs lost between June and August.
Friday, October 09, 2020US consumer rebound some way off
Friday, October 09, 2020UK growth slows again
The pace of the growth bounce back in the UK slowed again in August, as measured through the monthly GDP print released on 9 October.
Friday, October 02, 2020US jobs numbers suggest slowing recovery
We needed an ‘at or above expectations’ number on the US non-farm payrolls today and in the very broadest sense it just has not delivered.
Thursday, October 01, 2020US jobs market remains under pressure
The print for the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time during the past week fell marginally more than expected to 837,000.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020Eurozone services PMI slides
The eurozone services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) slipped again to 47.6 (contraction) against expectations for a figure of continued expansion near to 51.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020UK economy reopens but darker days ahead
Even as the UK economy slowly reopened in July, the labour market deteriorated. Job losses as a result of the pandemic now stand close to 700,000 and the unemployment rate reached 4.4%.
11 September 2020A UK recovery of sorts
As the UK emerged from lockdown restrictions over the summer, the month of June saw a strong bounce back in activity recording a record 8.7% jump in GDP.
Friday, September 11, 2020US unemployment claims climb higher
Friday, August 28, 2020News out of Jackson Hole....
A new Federal Reserve (Fed) framework policy that was pretty well-telegraphed was announced by Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium this afternoon.
Thursday, August 27, 2020American unemployment continues
Last week’s employment print surprised markets in being worse than anticipated, and this week the surprise continues.
Friday, August 21, 2020Eurozone travel restrictions take their toll
Friday 21 August proved to be an important day for testing the resilience of company outlooks around the world with eurozone, UK and US purchasing managers’ index (PMI) numbers.
Thursday, August 20, 2020US jobless claims climb back above one million
It was hoped that for the second week running, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits in the US would be below the all-important million mark.
Friday, August 14, 2020US retail activity dampened
US retail sales rose 1.2% in the month of July – a more muted rate of growth compared to the rebound seen in June when it recorded a now revised positive 8.4%.
Friday, August 14, 2020This week's announcements
Following on from the record breaking decline in UK GDP for the second quarter earlier this week, we have just had the eurozone GDP print for the same period.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020UK firmly in recession
A fairly bleak GDP print from the UK on 12 August, showing the economy is firmly in recession with a 20.4% drop for the second quarter. This is first recession in the UK since 2009.
Tuesday, August 11, 2020UK job losses worst since GFC
The pace of job losses in the UK in the period from April to June was the worst since the global financial crisis (GFC) highlighting the dire state of the employment market in the economy.
Friday, August 07, 2020US economic data enters the twilight zone
We seem to be in the twilight zone of economic data releases where not much is making sense.
Friday, July 31, 2020This week in the news
US second quarter contracted slightly less than analysts feared, but at a record breaking pace nonetheless.
Thursday, July 23, 2020US jobless claims rise for first time since March
US jobless claims for the week ending 18 July came in at 1.4 million – a higher amount compared to the previous week and importantly the first increase the US has seen since March.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020Announcements continue
UK GDP growth for May showed a paltry 1.8% rise, far below the consensus expectations for a sharp bounce back of 5.5%.
10 July 2020Additional announcements from this week...
The UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer statement delivered on much of the previously leaked policy announcements. Sunak pledged that he will not idly stand by and watch unemployment surge ever higher, announcing a new job retention bonus scheme as the furlough scheme comes to an end in October.
Thursday, July 09, 2020US jobless numbers – better but not great
US jobless numbers – better but not great
Wednesday, July 08, 2020This week's announcements
We believe today’s sharp bounce back in the ISM non-manufacturing index in the US to 57.1 on first blush points to a rallying V-shaped recovery there.
Thursday, July 02, 2020America is re-employing and re-lockdowning at the same time...
US jobs numbers today continue to defy the worsening Covid-19 case numbers on the ground.
23 June 2020PMIs provide some comfort
Hot on the heels of relatively strong rebounds in purchasing managers' index (PMI) data from Europe on 23 June (albeit still in contraction territory below 50 but far outpacing even the most bullish forecasts), the latest flash PMI data from the UK continues to show an encouraging bounce back as lockdowns ease.
19 June 2020Bank of England interest rate decision
08 June 2020America starts to get back to work
The US jobs report filed on 5 June was stunningly contradictory on the face of it and has surprised all expectations and forecasts.
Wednesday, 29 April, 2020It is indeed gross
GAM Investments’ Charles Hepworth considers the potential path ahead following the US’s advancement of GDP print for the first quarter of 2020.
21 April 2020Oil and North Korea keep investors on edge
UK average earnings slowed further to +2.8% in February, compared to +3.1% over the previous three months and a +3.4% print this time last year.
14 April 2020Drowning in supply
OPEC+ has agreed to production cuts of 10 million barrels of oil per day (for two months initially) following a month long battle between Russia and Saudi Arabia to either extract as much market share from each other as possible or try to destroy the US shale industry – the reality is probably a bit of both.
09 April 2020When the micro(biological) trumps the macro
The UK economic outlook looks challenging as the nation continues to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
09 April 2020Trump's election tagline will need to change to 'Make America Employed Again'
03 April 2020We're gonna need a bigger boat...
26 March 2020The dangers of driving by looking in the rear view mirror
The US announced its final quarter measure of GDP for the last quarter of 2019 – that seems like a long time ago now with all that has changed so far this year.
23 March 2020From QE to eternity
18 March 2020Bomb doors open
Helicopter money is now here but I can not imagine that Ben Bernanke thought it would be under this viral onslaught.
16 March 2020Federal Reserve cuts rates further
Following another badly received emergency Federal Reserve (Fed) cut, the markets are yet again further spooked that the coronavirus outbreak is almost certainly tipping the global economy into a deep recession. I believe this outcome is essentially guaranteed for the first half of the year.
11 March 2020Carney bows out with emergency rate cut
Slightly less ‘hot on the heels’ of the Federal Reserve (Fed) cut in rates on 3 March, the Bank of England (BoE) announced an emergency rate cut of 0.5% to 0.25% on 11 March, back down to the post-Brexit referendum lows briefly reached in 2016 / 17.
09 March 2020Black (Oil) Monday
Russia’s decision to walk away from an OPEC agreement to cut supply has spooked one area of the market very aggressively.
28 February 2020Coronavirus and markets
31 January 2020Sterling: stuck in a funk
Tuesday, November 13, 2018The United States of Checks and Balances
And just like that the Trump bounce ended – almost exactly two years after it started. For a change the prediction markets got it right - a Democratic flip of the House and continued control by Republicans in the Senate.
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