Highlights of the year 2018 – Brexit, trade talks and green finance

The year 2018 was a year of Brexit, electric cars and trade talks. It included special moments in the financial markets and in the company side. Green Bonds and Green Finance were getting more attention in the markets and trade talks and Brexit were the topics during the year 2018 along. Climate Change and low carbon landed also in the agenda of central banks.

Investors were also asking what is the role of the City as a global financial hub. Should it have its own rules in spite of the Brexit? In the financial hub competition, Frankfurt and Paris were the European cities to get more new financial offices as financial companies were moving some operations to the EU side.

The UK Parliament is expected to vote of the Brexit during Janury 2019 after very intensive debate about the deal during the year.

Climate Change has become part of the everyday life in the financial markets and for example one of the biggest insurance companies in the US, Berskhire Hathaway informed in February 2018, that it has got 3 billion dollars losses of the natural catastrophies, the hurricances in the US. Several central banks, including the European Central Bank and some Asian ones, have also agreed about the co-operation in the climate issues and how to monitor the impact on the markets.

In the tech-side augmented reality and ioT were the themes for the year. Apple, Amazon, Google, Tesla, Intel  and Samsung  were one of the tech-companies to deliver new services related to the new technology. On the other side of the topic, Facebook was dealing with the privacy issues globally. New tech- companies listed in the markets were for example Spotify and Xiaomi.

Year 2018 was a year of electric cars in many countries. The e-cars breakthrough with charging issues was one of the tech topics as well. Telsa founder Elon Musk was the leading industry sector figure as he estimated that Tesla would make one million cars by 2020 in February 2018.

Also the German automakers announced new investments and concept cars. For example the BMW Group launched an autonomous driving campus in Munich in March 2018.

Year 2018 was also a year for luxury goods and services. The Basel World 2018 -fair announced its good selling and for example the CEO of Hublot, Ricardo Guadalupe,  told ComteamPUB+ that the company expects double digit growth for the year and that the Chinese customers will be the leading segment.

In the debt markets the US Uber and Netflix issued their junk bonds to investors. Uber, the ride-sharing company, is said to plan an IPO for the year 2019 according to the secret filings to the SEC.

One of the biggest infrastructure projects ever, the China Silk Road, is getting more attention from the green investors side, while the organization made its first announcement of the green principles for the project co-operation and operators. The ancient Silk Road is expected to rise the GDP growth by 4 % or 240 billion dollars in the countries invlolved according to Credit Suisse analysis.

The aim of the Roman time Silk Road is to connect the western Europe with the eastern coast of China and to renew the infrasturcture in between. This means also that the 10 world largest container ports are located along the route.

Trade talks between different countries have continued lively during the year. US and China have been in the headlines, but also the EU with its agreement with Japan.  The political situation and rising volatility in the financial markets tell the direction for the next year. Geopolitical easing is needed.

Päivi Härkönen, co-founder, ComteamPUB+

 

 

Business Finance Lifestyle

Helsinki2018: Talks about trade & China

The  Helsinki2018 meeting has started with presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in the Helsinki Presidential Palace with the Finnish president Sauli Niinistö. According to the US President Donald Trump,  the discussions will range from trade to China.

– Getting along with Russia, is a good thing. And when we have 90 percent of the world´s nuclear power, we might talk about this as well, he said before the meeting.

 

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Finance

Stock markets steady in spite of trade wars

Financial markets stayed steady during the Monday morning  trading in the European Stock Exchanges. For example the London FTSE 100 – was down about 0,09 percent, DAX in Frankfurt was up 0,07 percent and Paris CAC 40- index was up 0,01 percent.

The markets in Japan were closed on Monday, but Hang Seng was up 0,05 percent in HongKong and Shanghai A-index was down 0,61 percent.

The dollar was trading 1,17 against euro, up 0,07 percent.

The trade tensions between the US, China, Russia and EU are tiggering and the companies are facing growing unease with the situation. This will have its own impact in investment decisions, timings, places and financing. For example this will have big impact in tech companies and their locations in the future.

The markets will be expecting more information from the world leaders, the US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki today. The leaders are having their press conference during the late afternoon EET.

Finance

Helsinki2018: How about the investments?

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The tradewars between the US, China and the EU are escalating in all frontiers. The world economies are already suffering of the lack of confidence and stability. It really needs a crystal ball to see behind the unexpected and C-level executives are trying to navigate in the day-to-day  ever changing economic environment. It is clear that the tradewars  and sanctions will be one of the top questions in the #Helsinki2018 meeting with presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

The world economy is mixed up. The discussion in the NATO meeting in Brussels this week also showed the power of the US. The defence budget of 2 procent of the NATO-country´s GDP is one of the questions but also the questions of next investments and taxes. Which country will be the next growth country to invite international investments and money? And what will happen to institutions, are they ready to renew their way to operate and engage? It seems clear that Nato in not the only one, there might also be the UN and for example IMF and World Bank in the financial markets.

It is no wonder that the space will be the next generation growth area. At the moment there are no internationally and generally accepted laws and rules how to proceed with the new technology and investments. It offers taxfree for everybody who could have the access to ride to the moon. And that is why it is important for countries to have as much co-operation and network as possible in order to be along in the process. Like for Finland, which is a small, but quite innovative country, to be part of the technology development.

The number two is also important for the European Central Bank (ECB). This is the inflation target of the EU area. The bank´s monetary policy says that the main target for the central bank is to keep price stability and the inflation below, but close the 2 % over the medium term. This is the mechanism how the EU area will have growth and jobs, but also how to keep the value of euro.

One can say that this is also the same what president Donald Trump is doing with “corporate America and America first”. And so far it seems working – the earnings of listed companies have risen by 22 % compared to year ago and investments are up 19 procent. The relaxation of banking rules and corporate taxes have fueled the economy.

The new inflation numbers from the US show the trend – inflation is on rise and it has strengthen the dollar.  The figure 2,9 % is a clear sign for the Federal Reserve to rise the interest rates- it is estimated that there will be at least two increases this year.

The euro has fallen to 1,17 dollars. And naturally the ECB is worried about the overall economic situation in the Eurozone. Tradewars and sanctions are not helping the economic growth and rising inflation on the other hand will increase the pressures to rise the interest rates.

It seems clear that old rules are not working any more. In order to avoid the global economic and financial crisis, action, co-operation and readyness is needed from cabinets. Maybe we see something about this on Monday in #Helsinki2018?

Päivi Härkönen

 

Business Finance