Wyn Thomas - Axys Investment Management

Weekly Market Commentary 5th April 2019

EUROPE’S LARGEST MONEY LAUNDERING SCANDAL

This week we take a brief Brexit respite to focus on what could be the biggest money laundering scandal in history. Between 2007-2015 around €200bn of non-residential flows was passed through Danske Bank’s Estonian branch unchecked. The Danish firm bought Sabro bank in 2007 to expand its Baltic operations but was warned prior to purchase by Russia’s central bank of fraudulent activity which it ignored. Subsequently, the branch wasn’t onboarded onto the groups IT platform in 2008 to save costs which meant the branch didn’t have to adhere to anti-money laundering procedures. In 2011 The region generated 11% of profits even though it accounted for 0.5% of the bank’s total assets. Read more…

Wyn Thomas - Axys Investment Management

Quarterly Market Outlook Spring 2019

REVIEW OF THE PAST QUARTER:

Markets have rebounded from last quarter’s selloff as investor sentiment picked up. This has been driven by a perceived change of heart at the US Federal Reserve where it is expected they will stop hiking rates and become more cautious. In addition, thawing tensions between the US and China have helped boost hopes of a deal but key stumbling blocks, such as digital trade, remain and could yet see hostilities drag out. Read more…

Wyn Thomas - Axys Investment Management

Weekly Market Commentary 29th March 2019

PARLIMENTARY VOTES MAKE BREXIT NO CLEARER

This week we have had yet more votes on Brexit and are still no clearer about what will ultimately happen. As we write this the government is having yet another go at getting its universally despised deal over the line, but this time with the fun twist that her replacement gets to tear up whatever has been agreed and plunge us all back into darkness at a later date. At this stage it looks unlikely to pass and a longer extension will be required while the Commons cobbles together a compromise that it can live with and possibly puts back to a confirmatory referendum. Read more…

Wyn Thomas - Axys Investment Management

Weekly Market Commentary 22nd March 2019

EU OFFERS BREXIT EXTENSION

In what is fast becoming a real-life soap opera, this week’s episode of Brexit saw the narrative pick up the pace. John Bercrow kicked things off by quelling Theresa May’s “if it doesn’t work try try again” approach of pushing the same deal through only to get continuously rejected by parliament. Theresa May then managed to rile up Parliament blaming MP’s for the mess and attempting to win over the public. With three million people signing the petition to repeal Article 50 and a march planned this Saturday in London, it appears that she has lost both sides of the dressing room. Read more…

Wyn Thomas - Axys Investment Management

Weekly Market Commentary 15th March 2019

WILL THE EU AGREE TO A LONGER EXTENSION?

This week we have to turn our attention yet again to Brexit. After a series of votes and high political drama it came as a surprise to no one that we find ourselves in exactly the same position as before. Theresa May has been told again that her deal is the worst of both worlds, simultaneously too hard and too soft, yet is pressing ahead regardless and looks set to put it to yet another vote next week. Meanwhile the headline development of taking “No-Deal” off the table is also meaningless. While No-Deal is now no longer the official policy of the government, it’s still going to happen unless parliament can agree to something else. Read more…

Wyn Thomas - Axys Investment Management

Weekly Market Commentary 8th March 2019

US-CHINA TRADE WAR TAKING ITS TOLL

This week we received further evidence of the US-China trade war taking a toll, with data showing Chinese exports reportedly dropping 21% year on year. While some of this is down to a slowing global economy, the falling out with Donald Trump isn’t helping. This comes alongside data showing that Russia has massively increased its global share of soybean exports, largely at the expense of US farmers who have been targeted by retaliatory Chinese sanctions. With the extent of the mutual harm the dispute is causing now more evident, it is unsurprising that both sides seem keener on reaching a deal. Read more…

Wyn Thomas - Axys Investment Management

Weekly Market Commentary 1st March 2019

THERESA MAY TO GIVE MP’S THE CHANCE TO EXTEND ARTICLE 50

This week we witnessed a major change in direction from both the government and opposition for their respective Brexit policies. Theresa May walked back yet another commitment and conceded that there should be an extension to article 50. This has been inevitable for some time as, quite apart from all the clowning about in parliament, there is actually a lot of legislation to be passed into law before leaving, regardless of the terms. We had already passed the point where that could have been accomplished so it was just a matter of when the Prime Minister would acknowledge that reality. While this move has garnered a lot of attention it hasn’t changed anything, there will still be nothing the parties agree on at the end of the period, except the option to delay will no longer be available. Read more…

Wyn Thomas - Axys Investment Management

Weekly Market Commentary 22nd February 2019

IS THE US’S STANDOFF WITH HUWAEI SET TO END?

This week President Trump appeared to make a major concession in his trade negotiations with China by significantly softening his stance on Huawei. Trump said the US shouldn’t ban “Technology” and urged US tech companies to compete or get left behind. This comes after weeks of the government labelling the firm as a risk to western countries and attempted to influence other nations to drop the company from future 5G networks. Trumps words strike a different tone to his administration however, who this week threatened to stop intelligence sharing with any country willing to work with the firm. Read more…

Wyn Thomas - Axys Investment Management

Weekly Market Commentary 15th February 2019

UK PROPERTY FUNDS SWITCH PRICING TO STEM OUTFLOWS

This week saw another property fund move to limit the impact of outflows as Janus Henderson announced it was moving its pricing to a full spread basis in March. While this sounds like a minor bit of fund administration, and to an extent it is, the timing of the move is interesting. Following the referendum, a sudden run on property funds caused a number to temporarily shut down as they struggled to meet investors demand for redemptions. With the possibility of a hard Brexit looming, it is interesting to see funds take pre-emptive action to try and avoid the same situation. Read more…

Wyn Thomas - Axys Investment Management

Weekly Market Commentary 8th February 2019

SEPERATING NOISE FROM REALITY

This week a lack of any major developments allowed us the time to look closer at some of the economic data of the last few weeks. It has reminded us that we ought to do this more often and ignore the headlines all together. Italy is currently in its third recession in a decade while Germany’s economy shrank in the third quarter of 2018 and stagnated in the fourth quarter. While it will likely avoid an all-out recession, a global slowdown and retrenchment in world trade is taking its toll. Britain is also slowing down, with growth forecasts cut by 0.5%, although still at a comparatively healthy 1.2%. Read more…