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Market and Economic Update – April 2016

The month saw a significant rebound in prices across risk assets, as investors shrugged off fears of a US recession. Dovish statements from the US Federal Reserve and further easing measures announced by the European Central Bank (ECB) also offered support to risk sentiment. In particular, commodities, emerging market equities and high yield corporate bonds enjoyed strong returns, whilst UK gilts were little changed.

Gareth Lewis Gareth Lewis
20 March 2016

What happened in the world’s economies?

  • In spite of solid employment reports and rising inflation data, the US Federal Reserve adopted a more cautious stance by lowering its projections for future interest-rate rises in response to global economic and financial uncertainty.
  • As expected, the ECB also delivered a further stimulus package designed to boost inflation and support the recovery. Measures proposed included a scheme to encourage direct bank lending as well as purchases of non-financial quality corporate bonds. However, whilst the scope of the proposals succeeded in surprising investors, the initial euphoria was nullified by the suggestion, from the ECB president, that rates would not be cut further.
  • Elsewhere the latest releases of manufacturing activity from China pointed to modest signs of recovery in the sector. For some investors the data helped to ease concerns over the health of the Chinese economy and suggested that policy actions recently undertaken to counter slowing growth may have begun to take hold.
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