Weekly Intelligence Report – Oil, UK GDP and S&P 500

17 May 2016

Last week was a relatively quiet one for global financial markets, with few significant market changes and little in the way of new information, either in terms of macroeconomic data or on the policy making fronts. Times such as these are ideal for taking stock, revisiting old themes and starting to explore new ones.

In the first of our articles, we revisit trends in oil prices, and in commodity prices more generally. Although there has been a notable rebound in prices since February, we would not characterise the rebound as “healthy”. Christoph von Scheurl reviews recent oil market developments, and casts a sceptical glance at the fundamental underpinnings for the recent recovery.

In a new departure for this publication, which has often focused on global, or emerging markets themes, Richard Barwell turns a spotlight on events closer to home, examining tentative, but convincing evidence that the UK economy is unexpectedly slowing both in absolute growth terms, and relative to many of its trading partners, and posits some potential explanations for this phenomenon.

Lastly, Daniel Morris returns to the age-old question of the link between the electoral and the market cycle, a timely issue given the approaching presidential elections in the US. In sifting through post-election market performances over the past sixty years or more, he comes to the nuanced conclusions that the composition of Congress matters more, both for overall market direction and for relative sector performance, than the party to which the incoming president belongs.

Three different themes, three different perspectives which we hope you find informative and thought-provoking.

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