Bassanese Bites: Global Slowdown – Week beginning: 11 March 2019

Last week saw the first decent pull back in global equity markets since the impressive V-shaped recovery began just after Christmas.  Growing uncertainty over when and if the US and China will actually conclude a trade deal weighted on sentiment, as did more concerns over slowing global economic growth.  Despite Trump’s ongoing optimistic tweets, US negotiators appear to be downplaying the chances of any near-term deal with China being finalised, while the Chinese appear to have put off the talked about end-March “Mar-a-Lago” meeting with the US President.  With Trump having already postponed the March 1 deadline for higher tariffs, China may well have decided to call Trump’s bluff – and is hardening its resolve against making major trade concessions.

In terms of global growth, the ECB finally accepted reality and acknowledged the EU’s slowdown since last year is more than just transitory.  The ECB slashed its 2019 growth forecast from 1.7% to 1.1% and conceded its long planned year-end rate rise won’t now probably take place. Growth in Chinese exports and imports were also weaker than expected, though the timing of holidays appears to have been a partial factor.

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