Economics Research

A detailed analysis identifying the trends that matter, incorporating the dynamics of political risk, the business cycle and other proprietary indicators.

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Economics Team

Dominic White
Head of Economics
Michael Hessel
Political Economist
Raphael Olszyna-Marzys
Ben Blanchard

Economics Research

Economics Products: Absolute Strategy Weekly, Economics Quarterly, Newsflow Monitor.

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ASR Investment Weekly - 25th May 2017
25 May 2017
: Zahra Ward-Murphy, Philip Isherwood, Charles Cara, Raphael Olszyna-Marzys, Dominic White, Michael Hessel, Ben Blanchard, David McBain, Chris Turner, Stefano Di Domizio, Richard Mylles

Please see below for full contents

Equity Strategy: 
Time to Take Profits in Asia-ex-Japan Equities
Following 10% outperformance since December, and with our SBI overbought, we now downgrade our recommendation on Asia-ex-Japan from Overweight to Neutral. Recent outperformance has been supported by Activity Surprises, the region’s high Beta with respect to Global Equities, the weaker USD and lower bond yields. Our belief that surprises have peaked and global growth will slow as the year progresses therefore present a challenge to further outperformance, whilst tapering may put a floor under global bond yields. However, the increased weight of the Tech in Asian Equities may act to limit the region’s downside in a global slowdown scenario.
 PODCAST: Click to hear Zahra’s accompanying podcast

Economics: US - A Bold Path Forward
In his final article for ASR, former Treasury official, Gerald Cohen, argues that a credible proposal is needed to overcome the current political morass. One avenue might be to introduce a ’20-20-20 tax plan’, suggested by Gerald himself. Without such a plan, the Trump administration risks losing the confidence of consumers and businesses, which could undermine the financial markets and economy.

Multi-Asset: Taking profits on long EM / short Materials
We are recommending clients take profits on the long MSCI Emerging Markets / short MSCI World Materials ‘convergence trade’ idea from February as: a) the performance ‘gap’ that opened up in the aftermath of Trump’s election victory has largely closed; and b) Brazil’s political scandal has brought forward Brazilian sovereign credit concerns that would probably have otherwise emerged in H2 as the growth rebound faltered.

Politics: The Four Options for Brexit
We envisage four potential Brexit outcomes, none of which include a trade deal being negotiated within two years as outlined by the UK Government.
1.    A negotiated hard Brexit                  ASR probability 40%
2.    An unnegotiated chaotic Brexit         ASR probability 40%
3.    A transitional Brexit                        ASR probability 15%
4.    No Brexit                                       ASR probability 5%

Time to Take Profits in Asia-ex-Japan Equities, by Zahra

• Guest article: A Bold Path Forward, by Gerald D. Cohen

• Absolute Surprise: The costs of a hard Brexit, by Raph

• Absolute News: Proposals for eurozone renewal

Key Views & Forecasts

Closing long Emerging Markets / short Materials trade, by Chris

Sentiment extremes and markets on the move, by David

Multi-Asset open trade recommendations

The Four Options for Brexit, by Richard

Watch: ASR Investment Weekly - 25th May 2017
ASR Investment Weekly - US Corporate Debt and Global Liquidity Risks in Focus
18 May 2017
: Raphael Olszyna-Marzys, Michael Hessel, Ben Blanchard, Ian Harnett, Charles Cara, Philip Isherwood, Zahra Ward-Murphy, David McBain, Stefano Di Domizio, Chris Turner, Dominic White
Watch: ASR Investment Weekly - US Corporate Debt and Global Liquidity Risks in Focus
Investment Strategy Weekly Update - 11th May 2017
11 May 2017
: Raphael Olszyna-Marzys, Michael Hessel, Dominic White, Ben Blanchard, Philip Isherwood, Ian Harnett, Zahra Ward-Murphy, David McBain, Chris Turner, Stefano Di Domizio
Watch: Investment Strategy Weekly Update - 11th May 2017
ASR/WSJ NewsFlow – Bad news for inflation bulls
9 May 2017
: Michael Hessel, David Bowers

ASR/WSJ Global Composite NewsFlow Index: 59.1 in April (61.3 in March) 

• The ASR/WSJ Global Composite NewsFlow Indicator (CNI) of macro activity fell in April to stand at 59.1, compared with a 61.3 reading in March. Global CNI readings of around 50 have tended to be associated with stock returns keeping pace with bond returns on a year-on-year basis (see Chart 1). The Global CNI experienced its biggest month-on-month fall in over a year. On the basis of history, this would be consistent with a fall in the equity-bond returns ratio.

• Our proprietary NewsFlow indicators are created by searching the Dow Jones Factiva database for ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ macroeconomic news stories, counting them, and then calculating the difference (the ‘net’ news flow). The searches are done in English, so the global series will be dominated by stories from and about the Anglo sphere. But they still capture global trends well.

• The Global CNI is built up from six sub-indices – see Charts 2-7 on pages 2 & 3. The Inflation component was arguably the most striking. There have only been 4 occasions in the series’ 27-year history where the month-on-month fall was greater (Chart 6). This was even more surprising given that the Global Corporate Earnings NewsFlow rose to levels last seen in February 2011 (Chart 7).

• The loss of media interest in the inflationary story was particularly apparent in the US (Chart 17). The sub-indices show that increased ‘chatter’ around US inflation post the Presidential election has all but reversed in the past two months.

• This month’s political NewsFlow chart seeks to break down the concept of ‘policy uncertainty’ into its underlying drivers. Chart 50 suggests we are in a world where uncertainty around politics appears to take precedence over economic uncertainty.

Investment Strategy Weekly Update - 4th May 2017
4 May 2017
: Dominic White, Raphael Olszyna-Marzys, Michael Hessel, Ben Blanchard, Zahra Ward-Murphy, Philip Isherwood, Stefano Di Domizio, David McBain, Chris Turner
Watch: Investment Strategy Weekly Update - 4th May 2017
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