It was a relatively sedate week in financial markets, as Sterling strengthened against most major global currencies. Equities were up slightly in GBP terms, while Fixed Income also rose by +0.25% in GBP hedged terms. Brexit related metrics were largely unchanged, as markets await the results of the forthcoming festive election. Global bonds maintained their gains vs Sterling bonds, as did domestically-focused UK equities vs their more international peers. The Dollar has begun to weaken against its main trading partners, which has given a nice boost to our local currency emerging market debt holdings.
One of the major developments in the world of finance was the changing of the guard at the European Central Bank. Christine Lagarde took over the position of President of the ECB from Mario Draghi. She begins her tenure at a time when storm clouds gather over the Eurozone economy and the monetary policy tools at her disposal are less and less effective at boosting economic growth. In that sense, Mr Draghi may have picked an opportune time to depart, as much of Madame Lagarde’s political capital will likely be expended in trying to convince the creditor nations of the Eurozone (namely Germany) to enact a fiscal stimulus to pick up the reins from monetary policy. This is not a task many would envy‚Ä¶