Invesco Canada blog

Insights, commentary and investing expertise

Is global trade entering an era of ‘vigilante protectionism’?


December 11, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Macro views

I grew up in the New York City area in the 1980s. My dad always read the tabloids, and so I started to do so as well. That’s where I first learned about a fascinating phenomenon – the Guardian Angels. This was a large group of concerned citizens who wore distinctive uniforms, most notably red berets, and patrolled subways and other public areas in an attempt to prevent crimes from occurring during what was perceived to be a lawless time for New York City. In the beginning, the Guardian Angels were labeled by the tabloids as “vigilantes” who were “taking the law into their own hands.” Today, they are a reminder of how chaotic New York City was at that time.

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Reflections on my recent visit to China


December 6, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Invesco

In my recent visit to China, I met with a variety of clients, as well as digital companies. In spite of the overhang of the U.S.-China trade wars, everyone I spoke with remained optimistic about the opportunity for further investment in this important market and broadly bullish in their long-term economic outlook.

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2020 outlook: An optimistic view of capital markets


December 3, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Macro views

Welcome to December – just one more month until a new year begins (and, depending on how you do the math, a new decade as well). Naturally, this is the time when market-watchers issue their forecasts for what may lie ahead, and my team is no exception. Simply put, we expect continued monetary policy accommodation with little fiscal stimulus. Therefore, we are more optimistic about capital markets than we are about the overall economy, and we favor risk assets over non-risk assets for 2020. Below, I highlight some of the reasons why. An in-depth analysis is available here.

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Amid a host of central bank developments, one constant remains: global market pressure


November 26, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Macro views

Last week brought a number of key developments from central banks around the world, from the release of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) latest meeting minutes, to a reaffirmation of the Bank of Canada’s (BOC) monetary policy, to the first speech from European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde. These underscored the key differences between each central bank, but I see one constant: the continued pressure imposed by trade war tensions and a slowing global growth outlook.

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Don’t be so negative: Finding value in U.S. corporate bonds


July 25, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Macro views

As yields across the globe plummet, many investors are now actually paying someone to take their money. Currently, there are more than US$12 trillion of bonds with negative yields outstanding which equal 24% of the global bond market.1 In Europe, the search for positive yield is especially challenging. Over half (51%) of the European bond market now yields a negative rate.1 Germany recently issued €5 billion of bunds at a price of €101.5, but these will only return €100 in two years with zero coupons paid.2 And according to Reuters, Austria is also rumoured to be planning to issue a 100-year bond at roughly 1% to feed yield-hungry investors.

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Waiting for a rate cut: How much is too much?


July 16, 2019
Subject | Institutional | Invesco | Macro views

As any parent of toddlers or teenagers knows, there’s often a big difference between what kids want (candy and a later bedtime) and what they need (vegetables and plenty of rest). I’m reminded of this as I anticipate this month’s Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting. A cut is widely expected — but what is the level that markets need, versus what they want?

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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