Invesco Canada blog

Insights, commentary and investing expertise

Brexit: The consequences of economic policy uncertainty

Economic policy uncertainty has for decades been recognized by economists as having the potential to negatively impact economic growth. In 2015, economists Huseyin Gulen and Mihai Ion found that economic policy uncertainty has a strong negative correlation to business investment.1 This built on previous research from the 1980s that showed that high uncertainty gives firms an incentive to delay investment decisions, especially in situations where reversing an investment decision can be costly.2

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Brexit uncertainty could last for another 21 months


March 20, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Invesco | Macro views

The latest installment of the Brexit drama offers good and bad news for investors in U.K. assets and beyond: The good news is the risk of a “no deal” Brexit has receded, but the bad news is it’s still a possibility and the timeline toward resolution is now more extended. This means that persistent uncertainty is likely to continue to weigh on the U.K. and wider European economies, and may elevate the volatility of U.K. asset markets, particularly the currency.

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Politicization: A growing threat to central banks


March 18, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Invesco | Macro views

The United States has always had a difficult, complicated relationship with the concept of central banks. Early on, critics sought to prevent the establishment of a U.S. central bank, while today, politicians in the U.S. and around the world seek to use central banks as tools to further their policy aims. In my view, central bank independence is critical to their ability to counteract the economic effects of geopolitical chaos.

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Change is in the air as the Fed, BOC and ECB pivot on policy


March 14, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Invesco | Macro views

There is an old Chinese proverb that states, “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” In other words, some people embrace change while others fear it. I’ve come to the conclusion that the speed of the change has much to do with how a change is received. Just look at the past week, when we saw abrupt changes in the direction of the wind for central banks, followed by largely negative reactions.

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What trade-offs will the U.S. accept for a trade deal with China?


March 7, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Invesco | Macro views

Two key risks – trade and central bank normalization – have had an outsized impact on global stocks for more than a year (sometimes positive and sometimes negative). This past week saw developments in each of these key issues.

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Populist, nationalist movements are on the rise: What could this mean for the global economy?

An informal Invesco poll of North American institutional investors recently revealed that geopolitical risk was a top concern for 2019. And they’re not the only ones worried: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi recently noted that the risks to the downside have increased, blaming, among other things, “the persistence of uncertainties related to geopolitical factors and the threat of protectionism…” In his annual letter to investors in January 2019, Seth Klarman of Baupost warned of the threat of geopolitical disruption: “Social frictions remain a challenge for democracies around the world, and we wonder when investors might take more notice of this.”

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What lies beneath the Fed’s ‘about face’ on normalization?


February 27, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Invesco | Macro views

Last week was momentous for one specific reason: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released minutes from its January meeting, which detailed the significant “about face” that the Federal Reserve (Fed) has made over the last few months. In my view, the FOMC’s insights, along with apparent progress in U.S.-China trade talks, could enable stocks to move higher in the short term – but I’m also wary of negative implications that could lie beneath the surface.

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Five ‘swords of Damocles’ hang over markets


February 11, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Invesco | Macro views

In Greek mythology, the “sword of Damocles” is a powerful morality tale. King Dionysius is a leader who grows weary of a young sycophant, Damocles, who is constantly extolling the benefits of being king. To teach Damocles a lesson about the pressure and insecurity that comes with leadership, Dionysius allows him to sit on the throne for a day – but over the throne, the king has suspended a large sword, hung by a single hair. Damocles quickly learned what it feels like to be a leader who exists in imminent danger and jeopardy.

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Markets grapple with government dysfunction


January 22, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Invesco | Macro views

Last week saw government dysfunction on full display in several different countries. While politicians in the U.K. and U.S. continued to make headlines, expectations for lower economic growth emerged in a report from the International Monetary Fund.

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No holiday in sight for global disruption


December 17, 2018
Subject | Institutional | Invesco | Macro views

At the start of 2018, I warned about two significant forms of disruption that posed risks to markets: geopolitical disruption and monetary policy disruption. The solution to the global financial crisis – experimental monetary policy – had created greater wealth inequality, which had led to geopolitical disruption, and the situation was poised to worsen in 2018. This experimental monetary policy, especially large-scale asset purchases, was beginning to be unwound – and that was an experiment in and of itself which also had the potential to cause disruption.

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Fixed income: Gauging the ripple effects of softening economic growth

Key takeaways

  • In the US, we believe peak levels of growth are behind us and expect to see slowing in the second half of 2019.
  • Outside the US, there are also signs of softening growth.
  • Inflation is likely to increase somewhat, but we do not believe that wage inflation will be significantly passed through to consumer prices in 2019.

Global macro

In the US, we believe peak levels of growth are behind us, although we expect annual growth of around 2.75% to persist through the first half of 2019 before slowing.  Fiscal stimulus is still having a positive effect on growth, but will likely wane in the second half of 2019.  In addition, the positive financial tailwinds that have been driving the economy may turn more neutral as monetary policy continues to tighten.  Therefore, while consumer spending will likely be additive to growth in the first half, as the boost from tax cuts winds down, the question is how much will the consumer want to spend thereafter? Consumption has grown at an unsustainably high level, in our view, over the last several quarters, driven by stronger consumer confidence and tax cuts. A meaningful slowdown in consumption could have negative implications for broader growth.  These effects mean that risks to economic growth are higher in late 2019 than they have been in previous points in the cycle.

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Global markets, financial district

International growth equities: A supportive outlook for international earnings

Key takeaways

  • Despite the soft patch in certain macro indicators, there is a broad expectation that most major regions may deliver solid earnings growth in 2019.
  • We believe equity valuations remain vulnerable to higher bond yields and discount rates.
  • Trade and geopolitical tensions are the primary threats to the growth outlook.

As 2018 draws to a close, strong US corporate cash flow has been well-supported by tax cuts and increasing fiscal spending. This may continue to underpin reasonably healthy capital expenditures and support economic growth and earnings delivery in the US — but the big question is, will growth pick up around the world?

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emerging markets, economy

U.S. growth equities: Change is the fuel for growth

Key takeaways

  • If historical precedent holds up, there is still room to be positive on equities as we move into 2019 and on to early 2020.
  • The key is to identify companies that can gain market share from technology-enabled advantages in their business model or disruptive shifts in consumer behavior.
  • We highlight several areas where technology is enabling disruption and creating opportunities.

As we look forward into 2019, we believe there is continued potential for positive US equity returns, but slowing economic growth may mean more frequent downhills — and more investors losing their way — than during the market’s climb of recent years.  Observing the weight of the evidence, we have moved into a late-cycle environment.  In our view, the path forward will not rely on choosing growth versus value, or small-cap versus large-cap. We believe it will rely on identifying “share-takers” (companies that can gain market share from technology-enabled advantages in their business model and in consumer behavior) and avoiding “share-losers” (companies that have simply been buoyed in recent years by the expanding economic environment).

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Tech display, Discover conference

Global economy: Three themes to watch in 2019

Key takeaways

  • We believe economic growth divergence is likely to continue to some extent.
  • Geopolitical disruption is leading to structural fragmentation.
  • The debt problem is widespread and is becoming more burdensome as rates rise.

As we look out to 2019, we believe there are three key themes that will persist into the new year.

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US national debt, treasury secretary

Exchange-traded funds: Strategies for mitigating the new risks of the new year

Key Takeaways

  • We see new risks on the horizon for both equity and fixed income investors, but there are various exchange-traded fund strategies that we believe can help.
  • We expect that a loss of profit momentum in 2019 could lead to increased volatility and correlations, and we believe that the Low Volatility and Quality factors may perform relatively well in such an environment.
  • With the overall climate still tilting in the direction of higher rates in 2019, one way to potentially manage that risk is to build bond ladders using defined-maturity bond funds.

In the new year, we see new risks on the horizon for both equity and fixed income investors. Equity markets are anticipating a loss of momentum for corporate profit growth. And, for the first time in 12 years, fixed income investors are forced to wrestle with the challenge of navigating a multi-year upward trend in interest rates at both the short and long end of the bond universe. There are various exchange-traded fund strategies that we believe can help with both challenges.

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Walking sculpture, Magic Mountain, Angerpark

Solutions: Heading into an uncertain 2019, diversification must be top-of-mind

Key takeaways

  • The road ahead is expected to be challenging due to a variety of factors: rising global interest rates, increased volatility, diverging global monetary policies, and heightened geopolitical tensions around trade and tariffs.
  • Our forecasts for returns are tepid across the major asset classes.
  • There remain pockets of opportunities within asset classes.

Heading into 2019, the market’s resiliency is likely to be tested by evolving geopolitical tensions and questions regarding the ability of a late stage economy to grow. Volatility is expected to remain elevated as the markets seek additional support for increasing asset prices beyond continued earnings growth and the perceived positive impact of tax cuts. However, the road ahead will likely be more challenging to navigate. While the economy, as measured by gross domestic product, continues to expand, and US equities are experiencing their second largest expansion in recent history, there are numerous challenges for investors to navigate going forward, including:

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Drone image, aerial image of intersection

Global economy: Global economy expected to grow with low inflation in 2019

Key takeaways

  • 2018 has been a year of turmoil, but, 2019 promises to be much calmer, in my view.
  • I believe the Federal Reserve should be successful in positioning the US economy for several more years of expansion.
  • Monetary policy invariably dominates fiscal policy in the determination of inflation

2018 has been a year of turmoil with weakness in the bond markets and two significant sell-offs in equity markets. In between there were crises in Venezuela, Argentina and Turkey; ongoing Brexit negotiations; a strong rise in the price of oil; and disruptions created by US President Donald’s Trump’s repeated trade measures — all set against a backdrop normalising US interest rates. However, 2019 promises to be much calmer, in my view.

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Federal reserve, economy, fiscal policy

Emerging markets: No shortage of reasons to be cautious in 2019

Key takeaways

  • Emerging Markets (EM) face high uncertainty due to US equity market volatility and trade wars.
  • Yet we believe EMs as an asset class looks attractive as they are quite undervalued.
  • Quality has been out of favor in the EM markets in 2018, but we anticipate a reverse to the mean in the near future.

Emerging markets are one of the few asset classes where informational inefficiencies provide a fertile ground for bottom-up stock pickers (i.e., active investors) to add value. In our opinion, demographics, technology, decreased reliance on commodities and globalization all provide visible long-term growth potential.

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Waterfront, tourism

Multi-asset: The prolonged global expansion could continue if fiscal and monetary policies remain supportive

Key takeaways

  • We take a two- to three-year view of the world when building our central economic thesis.
  • We believe it is vital to consider both cyclical and structural forces in building this thesis.
  • We believe that all of our ideas can make a positive return in our central economic scenario to ensure we have ideas that can excel in various economic conditions. However, it is important to note that our ideas do not derive from it.

2018 has been a relatively volatile year, however this has been limited to bouts of volatility while, rather surprisingly, levels of market volatility overall have remained fairly subdued.

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