Search this website. You can use fund codes to locate specific funds

Authors

  • Neil Williams
    In his latest Economic outlook, Neil Williams, Senior Economic Adviser to Hermes Investment Management, argues that Japan-style deflation is becoming an increasing possibility elsewhere.
  • Neil Williams
    In his latest Quarterly Economic Outlook, Neil Williams, Senior Economic Adviser to Hermes Investment Management, argues that markets are still taking a ‘glass half full’ view of the macro outlook, with little real consideration of the new risk emerging. Until now, this has made sense, with speculation the US would open the fiscal box having justified ‘reflation trades’. However, while better for growth (see chart 1), markets are ignoring the darker cloud looming. Rather than financial distrust, we may need to brace for political distrust with the threat of beggar-thy neighbour policies - from the US to anti-European populism - rising. 2018 could be a ‘year of two halves’... In which case, 2018 could be a year of two halves, where stimulus- euphoria gradually gives way to stagflation concern. Helpfully, the trade-off is that policy rates stay lower than many expect. As chart 2 attests, the world’s appetite for international trade has, as a share of GDP, more than doubled in the past 50 years. Nevertheless, without care, the unhelpful jigsaw piece of retaliatory protectionism from the 1930s, might come crashing into place. In 1930, it was triggered by the Smoot-Hawley reforms that raised US tariffs to up to 20% on over 20,000 imported goods. This hit the US’s relatively small number of trading partners, most notably Canada and Europe, and prolonged the depression.
  • Neil Williams
    Neil Williams, Group Chief Economist at Hermes Investment Management, sets out his reaction to today’s Spring Budget: Having set out his stall in November and still awaiting the main event – our Brexit negotiations - the chancellor’s fiscal tweaks today were never going to raise too many eyebrows. Sterling’s fall since the Brexit vote has so far cushioned the economic blow, allowing him a sunnier growth outlook for this year, and more optimistic tax-take.
  • 06/02/2017
    Equities
    Neil Williams
    After Theresa May’s explanation of the Brexit process and The Supreme Court ruling, the UK’s intended departure date and destination look clearer. But, in his latest Ahead of the Curve monthly, Neil Williams, Group Chief Economist at Hermes Investment Management, believes the largest uncertainty now is the length of the journey ahead. Our negotiations, he argues, could stretch well beyond the two years assumed by Article 50.
  • Neil Williams
    The ECB’s decision prior to Christmas to extend QE for another nine months to December 2017, though ‘taper’ it from this April, does not herald an early tightening of economic policy, according to Group Chief Economist Neil Williams in his January Ahead of the Curve. Quite the opposite in fact, with the key deposit rate likely to stay negative in 2017, and the fiscal side activated. 2017’s extra QE easily surpasses the combined GDPs of Greece & Portugal... Tapering means more QE. By tapering its monthly asset purchases from €80bn to €60bn, it’s still looking to inject an extra €540bn in QE. This easily surpasses the combined GDPs of Greece and Portugal. Central banks can now buy bonds that yield lower than the -0.4% deposit rate. However, the nuance, is Mr Draghi’s growing encouragement of governments to take the baton back from the ECB. A lesson from Japan is that QE provides cash to lend, but cannot force consumers and firms to borrow. The euro-zone thus looks halfway down the Japan route. It too may be running unconventionally loose monetary policy (QE and negative rates) to get its currency down, but has yet to let go of the fiscal reins.
  • Neil Williams
    Some today will be disappointed that Mr Draghi is planning to taper the ECB’s QE from next April. But Neil Williams, Group Chief Economist at Hermes Investment Management, believes they shouldn’t be. First, tapering means more, not less, QE, and even though he’s closing the tap a notch in April, the ECB’s liquidity sink is still filling up. By tapering its monthly asset purchases from €80bn down to €60bn, he is still looking to inject an extra €540bn in QE. To put this into perspective, this easily surpasses in equivalent terms, the combined GDPs of Greece and Portugal for example.
  • Neil Williams
    In his latest quarterly Economic Outlook, Looking into 2017, Neil Williams, Group Chief Economist at Hermes Investment Management, sets out the six core beliefs that lie behind his macro view of 2017. After a year of political surprises, we could see tectonic shifts in economic policy. Speculation, rightly, that major economies will open their fiscal box is currently causing ‘reflation trades’ to puff up growth assets, raise inflation expectations, and make the 30-year bull-run in government bonds look even staler.
  • Neil Williams
    Neil Williams, Group Chief Economist at Hermes Investment Management, sets out his reaction to today’s UK Autumn Statement. Today’s Statement was always going to signal the extent to which chancellor Hammond has kicked austerity into touch, though in the event not as much as some would like. The Treasury is no longer aiming to return the finances from red to black by 2019/20. Yet, with borrowing lifted again and Brexit looming, the chancellor is not going to let his fiscal-guard down completely: the squeeze is just deferred.