Domestic and international markets have been steadily positive over the month of April. Despite uncertainty still existent in the wider economy, data out of key countries has spurred on markets for the month. The US economy recorded its 103rd month of adding jobs to the economy, with 263,000 jobs in April. As such, the S&P 500 posted a 4.05% rise for the month. Japan’s Nikkei 225 recorded a 4.97% result, and the UK’s FTSE 100 2.31%. In Australia, the IMF forecasted Australia’s real GDP to grow at an average rate of 2.7% per year between 2020 and 2024, the highest growth rate for advanced economies. The S&P/ASX 200 index recording a 2.37% rise, continuing the positive trend from last month.
Reports out of the US have stated that China has taken a backwards step in negotiations with the US regarding the trade war. While discussions have thus far been productive if not slow, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer has this week accused China of trying to change the text of the US-China agreement that was otherwise nearing its final stages. Typically, President Trump reacted erratically, tweeting that the current 10% tariff would rise to 25% and $325 of untaxed goods could also face the 25%. His actions sent the Shanghai Composite down 5.6%, while the Dow Jones dipped 1.8% early before recovering to close down 0.3%.
As a result of the UK extending Brexit until the 31st of October, they will participate in the European elections on the 23rd of May. Until October, the Brexit discussions so far would suggest we could easily see significant inaction until that date.
Meanwhile, Australia has been working its way through the last fortnight of the Federal Election, with Labor enforcing their focal point of a ‘fair go’ for Australia and that Morrison government is ‘only for big end of town.’ In contrast, the Coalition continues to push their message that only a Liberal-led government can be trusted to manage the Australian economy. Although consensus among investor groups has believed Labor will win for some time, the latest Newspoll suggests that the race is beginning to tighten with the results showing a 51% to Labor and a 49% to the Coalition, a 1% change towards the middle since the last poll. While a Labor government will no doubt be detrimental for the world of investment, it isn’t believed that the market will see a prolonged period of doom given that a Bill Shorten-led Australia has been priced into the market since the leadership coup in the Coalition party. While the world continues to post gains amidst uncertainty with the US-China trade war and Brexit, it can be said that there is much more reason for a positive outlook for 2019 if the parties involved are able to reach an agreement.