Americas Watch - March 2017
More than a month into the Trump presidency, the administration’s actions in regards to illegal immigration, federal spending, and the free press, as well as its contentious cabinet appointments, have further polarized the U.S. electorate. And although the post-election euphoria has subsided, the U.S. economy continues to chug along. Consumer confidence has rebounded to pre-recession highs, stock market indices continue to breach new levels, home price appreciation remains positive, and commercial real estate transaction volumes, while down in comparison with prior periods, remain elevated. However, a number of political headwinds are likely to alter the economic landscape. Contentious interactions with key economic partners, and even some long-time allies, and protectionist trade policies jeopardizes decades of diplomatic relations. The effects of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, stricter immigration policy, and a potential border adjustment tax or tariff add to the uncertainty. With democrats and fiscal conservatives in Congress expected to provide opposition to the White House agenda, the outcome of these policies is as certain as Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway’s announced winner for “Best Picture” at the Oscars.
Europe Watch - March 2017
Irish eyes are smiling, and it’s not just because Saint Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, the Irish Rugby team currently tops the standings in the Six Nations Rugby Tournament or that the country’s entrant to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest is one of the favourites to win. The Republic of Ireland has been the fastest-growing economy in the Eurozone for three successive years. In fact, in 2015, the country saw growth of a staggering 26%, handily edging out emerging economies like Ethiopia and Uzbekistan. While statistical quirks of inflated trade and investment data accounted for the one-off anomaly, the trend is clear. The Celtic Tiger is emerging from the shadows and proudly chuffing. Growth again is export led, however, the recovery has become increasingly broad-based. Construction is bouncing back and consumers are making a more meaningful contribution. The tourism industry is also in rude health, having seen an 11% increase of foreign visitors in 2016. A lower Euro has meant an influx of North American tourists, while fans of Star Wars and Game of Thrones are flocking to local filming locations. Added to all of this is the prospect that Dublin becomes the biggest beneficiary of Brexit-related financial job movements. The Republic of Ireland clearly has a lot going on at the moment, and that is why it is in focus in this month’s EuropeWatch.
Asia Pacific Watch - March 2017
A more optimistic economic outlook greeted a number of APAC economies as the Lunar Year of the Rooster was recently ushered in. Higher forecast outlooks for GDP and CPI, not only from individual agencies but also from the Consensus Economics mean forecast, suggests that in spite of global macro-economic and geopolitical uncertainties, the outlook is not as bad as had been expected late last year. This month’s Watch report focuses on the main industrial markets and trends of the region. Although the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was among the first international agreements to be ended by the incoming Trump administration, other trade arrangements – particularly those within the region – appear to be healthy. Aside from cross-border trade, it is the strength of domestic demand and of urbanization, middle class expansion and rapidly-adopted technologies which are spurring strong volumes of e-commerce consumption in all the major APAC economies. Unsurprisingly, we expect investor interest to remain keenly focused on the logistics sector in the region.
Combined Watch Link