After a generally solid start to 2019, global equity markets are encountering a period of some volatility as the so called ‘trade wars’ between, in particular, the USA and China continue to attract attention. The issue has broadened to include how the USA deals with the security aspects potentially arising from too great a reliance on Chinese technology and we anticipate that this matter will rumble on for some time to come. In the meantime, although global growth has slowed down somewhat, we remain broadly comfortable with the level of global equity markets.
In the UK, the divisions across the nation in respect of Brexit remain as evident as ever, if not more so. There is little doubt that this is causing economic damage as business confidence is undermined and it is increasingly probable that the Brexit deadline, currently 31st October, will require further extension given all that has to be done in both the UK and in Europe over the Summer period. As a consequence, for the moment at least we are inclined to remain underweight in UK equities relative to their global counterparts.
All of this has generally been quietly supportive of fixed interest markets as pressure to raise interest rates has eased: the immediate outlook for this sector appears stable.