Another week where politics dominated the markets. It started with news that the US and China had reached a ‘phase one’ trade agreement, which boils down to being a truce. For the time being the US has agreed to suspend the increases in tariffs and China has agreed to increase their agricultural purchases. The key date is the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in mid-November, where the deal is set to be concluded.
It is good news that the trade war is de-escalating, however we do expect further bumps along the way, especially as the US has just passed legislation supporting the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Will this political disagreement complicate the delicate trade negotiations?
When it comes to complicated, the UK is building a monopoly. Having already lost eight commons votes since becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson made it nine with defeat on Saturday, a record not seen since Lord Rosebery in 1894.
Without the will of the politicians, any deal is doomed to failure. The addiction to avoid decision has become the modern malaise and with the narrow defeat on Saturday, Boris Johnson was forced to write to the EU to request an extension to Article 50. Even that simple task was laced with confusion and ulterior motives.
What we do know, is that geopolitics is not going to get any clearer any time soon. We know we have a US Presidential election next year, but the outcome is far from clear. While in the UK, we do not know what next year has in store; a referendum, a general election or some clarity over our exit from the EU?
That is why our investments continue to be appropriately diversified in these interesting times.