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By accessing this website (the ‘Site’), you agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions (the ‘Terms’). Before using this Site, you should read carefully the Terms, our Cookie Policy and also our Privacy & Security Statement. If you do not agree to these Terms & Conditions, please do not make use of this Site.

The Site has been approved for issue in the UK by Harrison Rowe Financial Planning Limited trading as Harrison Rowe Private Wealth. Harrison Rowe Financial Planning is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), and is entered on the Financial Services Register with the firm reference number 208467.

Harrison Rowe Financial Planning is part of a global group of businesses known asThe Harrison Rowe Group. Harrison Rowe Financial Planning Limited is registered in England and is established at 56, Wentworth Road, Blacker Hill, Barnsley, United Kingdom, S74 0RP, which is its registered office.

Unless otherwise stated in relevant sections of the website, this website is targeted at investors who are generally classified as qualified, professional, accredited or institutional. The information contained in this website is directed only at persons in a country or jurisdiction where access to the information and the use thereof is not contrary to local law or regulation. It is your responsibility to be aware of and to observe all applicable laws and regulations of any relevant jurisdiction when accessing the information contained in this website. In particular, no offer or invitation is made to any US persons (being residents of the United States of America or partnerships or corporations organised under the laws of the United States of America or any state, territory or possession thereof), who are excluded from the services, funds and products included in this site. There will be no public offering of services, funds and products in the United States.

The services, funds and products will not generally be available to U.S. Persons.

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In these Terms

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These Terms cover your use of this Site. All products and services provided by members of the Harrison Rowe Group have their own terms and conditions (the ‘Product Terms’). You must read both the Product Terms and these Terms. To the extent that the Product Terms conflict with these Terms or any Local Sites’ terms and conditions then the Product Terms will prevail.

We are required by law to tell you that the terms and conditions are in English and that we will communicate with you in English.

From this Site we may provide information or hyperlinks to other websites or pages provided by other entities within the Harrison Rowe Group (‘Local Sites’) and other parties. Your use of Local Sites and other parties’ sites may be subject to their own terms and conditions. You should read them.

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Changes to our Terms

You acknowledge that we may amend these Terms from time to time, at our sole discretion. If we elect to amend these Terms, the revised version will be posted on the Site. You undertake to check the Site regularly for any changes we may have made since your last visit to the Site, since any such changes will be binding on you. By using the Site after we have changed or amended these Terms, you acknowledge that you will be accepting those changes or amendments.

These Terms & Conditions were last updated on 6th February 2019.

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The Content, including layout, of this Site or products or services available via this Site may be wholly or partially suspended, withdrawn or changed at any time.

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Weekly Market Update January Sunday 5th 2020

New Year greeted with rising geopolitical risks

The targeted killing of General Qassem Soleimani, a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, by the United States, has reminded investors on only the second trading day of the New Year that geopolitical events still matter, despite the improving economic outlook for the globe. Equity markets have sold off today, with haven assets such as US Treasuries and gold having risen in price and an oil price spike to $68.8 for Brent crude.

This follows one of the strongest years for equity markets since 2009, as investors responded positively to signs that an economic downturn would be avoided, following aggressive easing by global central banks, and improving prospects for an initial trade deal to be signed between the US and China, pencilled in for the 15th January.

Stellar returns achieved in 2019, as signs of an economic downturn abate

World equity markets rose by 24% in 2019, with the US leading the way for developed markets, rising 29%, and US technology stocks climbing 35%. European stocks performed in line, rising 25%, whilst the UK was a relative laggard as it continued to struggle with Brexit, increasing by 14%. Emerging markets rose 15% in aggregate, whilst facing faced headwinds of a persistently strong US dollar and the impact of the US/China trade war.

However, Chinese equities rallied towards the end of 2019 as hopes of a trade deal being signed improved, helping domestic listed Chinese stocks to rise 24% over the year. Japanese equities increased by 15%, and Australian stocks rose 19%, both solid returns by themselves, but relative underperformers as they struggled with the trade war and slowing domestic economies.

Reserve requirement ratio cut for Chinese commercial banks

The New Year was greeted with a 0.50% reserve requirements ratio cut for commercial banks by the People’s Bank of China. This pumped $115bn into China’s financial system through reduced funding costs for banks, which in turn should free up credit for lending to corporates. The latest Caixin-Markit China manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers index) for December was released on the same day, coming in at 51.5, firmly above 50, the level that divides the closely watched index between expansion and contraction within smaller, privately owned enterprises. The official Chinese manufacturing PMI, which measures the performance of larger, typically state-owned enterprises, returned a figure of 50.2 for December.

Issues under discussion

Following such a strong year for markets last year, with almost all assets rising in price, investors could be forgiven for being cautious going into 2020. However, there are reasons to remain positive. Following a coordinated effort by global central banks to pivot towards monetary easing last year, the signs of a global economic downturn are abating. Expectations for economic activity are rising, with company earnings set to increase. However, despite being in the longest economic cycle on record, inflationary pressures have yet to become problematic, with the US Fed if anything looking for inflation to increase above their 2% target before raising rates. Company margins should remain solid, allowing profits to increase, something that was absent from last year’s stock market recovery. Additionally, should the recovery be more pronounced outside of the US, where it was weakest, perhaps we will finally see some dollar weakness, which would be positive for the emerging markets.

However, despite being constructive, we are now in unchartered territory as to the length of the economic cycle, and this keeps us from being overly bullish, expecting further volatility to come. A return of inflation is probably the most obvious risk to financial markets from this point.