Are they (too?) prudent investors? Economic growth in Europe is lacklustre at best, and the lingering international trade war does not hint at better times soon. Will a partial trade agreement between the US and China really change the climate of uncertainty and distrust? It may be a start, but there is a very long way to go. What will be the result of the change in relations between the UK and the EU? As long as the people do not feel a ‘not too bad’ outcome, it will weigh on confidence and thus on consumption. In the meantime, digital disruption is leading to particularly large employers shedding staff. That should one day lead to a turn in the ever-falling unemployment rates for almost a decade. On the other hand, it may confirm or even improve the profitability of such companies. Nevertheless, the recent bankruptcy of Thomas Cook is a wake-up call that even great brands can go under.
Are negative interest rates an issue only for the euro countries? Next to Japan, that is indeed currently the case. But economic growth is faltering almost all over the globe and in its wake so are interest rates in the dollar and in the currencies of other major economies. China is doing everything it can to try to keep its economic growth at 6%. But observers worry that it may be increasing the debt levels in its economy by too much and that possibly the quality of that debt is deteriorating.