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Year of the Horse 2014 by Justin Urquhart Stewart – director & co founder Seven Investment Management…

Astrology is no basis for financial decisions, but the financially positive year of the Snake (2013) certainly proved positive for most. The Year of the Horse (a wooden male apparently) the Chinese astrologers would see as positive and outgoing although potentially short tempered!

Quite how that translates into global finances though is rather unknown! However, let’s put this into some perspective; we are now nearly six years on from the financial collapse and from teetering on the edge of Armageddon, the global economy has shown some significant signs of healing – albeit under a generous regime of support and stimulants.

So 2014 sees a Euro-zone economy showing nascent signs of recovery although the festering issue of damaged banks and weaker government finances for some will continue to cast a pall over the markets. In the UK, the government has been rejoicing over the signs of green shoots but even here, it is being careful not to overstate the recovery.

The USA will see its seemingly intractable battles between the Democrats and Republicans gain further heat as they head towards their midterm confrontations and elections. Despite that, growth is still coming through. However, for the Federal Reserve the question will be the managing of the QE support and its effects on both the markets and the economy.

In China the refocusing of the economy will continue. For outsiders, we should continue to be suitably cynical over the data we are fed. As a developing economy, China will continue to grow, although the exuberant graphs of just a few years ago are not going to be fulfilled. Whilst they may have avoided the worst of a hard landing, they may feel as though they are wading through a somewhat sticky swamp.

Then to Japan, where the sheaf of arrows of Abe San will continue to have their effect. The question for 2014 will be whether they are seen to have had any positive impact? So far the signs are encouraging but by no means certain.

So this Year of the Horse may be no galloper, but at least it seems saddled and ready to ride in a recovering global economy. However there will be “events” but hopefully not concerning enough to “scare the horses”.


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