As the new year stretches out before us, it’s all too easy to feel concerned about the pitfalls that lie ahead, and also to feel a sense of déjà vu as many of them are exactly the same ones that we were wary of 12 months ago.
On the geopolitical front, Brexit, trade wars and unsettling election results continue to take centre stage. None seems any closer to resolution – in particular Britain’s status within the EU appears more nebulous than ever. Meanwhile, within the financial markets, the spectres of regulatory change and overvalued stocks continue to stalk. It all feels very like it did at the start of 2018.
That said, in many ways we should be more optimistic than ever. On an economic front, faced with all these balls to keep in the air, core central banks have still somehow managed to keep the economies on track, while the UK and US have even succeeded in delivering some monetary tightening into the bargain without spooking investors.
And from an investment perspective, there is much to be cheerful about. A record amount of exchange-traded funds are now available to the savvy investor – indeed the ‘Financial Times’ reported that the assets held in ETFs topped USD 5 trillion in 2018 – not bad for a product that has only been in existence for 25 years.
I hope you enjoy reading this edition of ‘Thinking Ahead’. If you have any comments on the magazine, please send them to me at ThinkingAhead@commerzbank.com.