Too hot, too cold
Investors’ rough ride continued last week. Markets are being buffeted by the ups and downs of economic data and the resultant changing expectations for central banks. We had unexpectedly positive UK economic growth during May, while the continued decline in oil and general commodity prices (resources and food) paints a picture of receding inflation pressures.
China’s homebuyers on strike
Chinese equities have been the best regional performers for the past two months, as fear has given way to positivity. Concerns about over-regulation and then COVID lockdowns have receded, fiscal and monetary policy have become supportive and consumer spending is rebounding strongly after the extended lockdowns. But the problems of the regulations and the lockdowns have still not yet been resolved. In particular, the woes surrounding property developers have spread again.
Abe’s third – and last – arrow
The assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ten days ago came as a shock to the world. Despite being out of office for nearly two years, the nation’s longest serving premier had iconic status and great influence right up to his tragic death. Even without 8th July’s gruesome scenes, Abe was destined to live long in the memory of Japanese citizens. He was a popular but polarising figure: an avowed nationalist, an ambitious reformer and a charismatic leader.