Click on the links below:
- The Rise Of Electric Vehicles And Autonomous Driving Technology - A Contrarian Perspective
- The Rise Of Electric Vehicles - Are There Still Opportunities For Investors In The Energy Sector?
- The Rise Of Electric Vehicles: Is There A Future For Platinum?
One of the conundrums of the current economic expansion in the United States has been the tepid wage growth evident in the recovery thus far. Although wage growth has picked up somewhat over the past year, it remains in a band between 2.5% and 3% and below the levels of wage growth seen prior to the last recession in 2007. This conundrum is all the more perplexing, given that the official unemployment rate has continued to decline to a new cycle low of 4.4%.
US equity markets have rallied strongly since the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, with investors largely choosing to focus on the prospective positive aspects of his administration and the scope for large corporate tax cuts, as well as a reduction in regulation. However, as we have detailed in previous articles, given Trump’s apparent protectionist instincts and anti-immigration views, there are also potential negative aspects associated with his presidency- which, broadly speaking, financial markets have chosen to ignore.
What does the future hold for traditional banks?
The rise of new technologies has allowed for improved mobile connectivity, cloud computing and the 'Bitcoin' phenomenon. This has led to an increasingly negative narrative with regard to the future of existing traditional banks. Newer entrants into the financial services realm such as Paypal and Square are seen as potentially successful 'disruptors' of an industry facing increased scrutiny and regulatory zeal. Venture capital companies are clamoring to invest in new peer-to-peer lending schemes, with many seeing this as the future for lending into the next decade and beyond.
How stressed are South African households at present?
Despite the poor economic backdrop and the recent increase in interest rates, South African households generally still appear to be in reasonably healthy shape, particularly middle to high-income households. Elevated wage and salary growth and waning demand for credit have helped keep nominal growth in disposable incomes above the growth in household indebtedness since the last recession in 2008/9.
Chinese Private Sector Credit GrowthChinese private sector credit growth or loans extended by the Chinese financial system to businesses and households accelerated to 15.3% y/y in January from 14.3% y/y in December. This is the highest rate of credit growth recorded since early 2013 and provides another indication that a “hard landing” in the Chinese economy is an unlikely scenario for 2016.
The US Energy RevolutionUS oil and gas production is expected to increase significantly over the next five years due to the use of new technologies able to unlock vast previously inaccessible oil and gas (shale) reserve formations creating a US Energy Revolution. Increasing US energy production and decreasing net energy imports have important implications for global US dollar liquidity going forward. Increasing US oil and gas production may depress global energy prices, creating substantial risks for major ‘petrostates’. Inherent political vulnerabilities may be exposed, leading to heightened geopolitical risks and risk of major energy supply disruptions. The current disparity in pricing between US natural gas prices and global gas- and oil prices will gradually be narrowed.