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Financial outlook 2017

After a rollercoaster year in 2016 for traders, 2017 is shaping up to be no different. What are the key events, sectors and markets you should be keeping an eye on?

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The US dollar looks set to be the currency to hold in 2017, due to a few different factors. Firstly, the Federal Reserve is currently the only major central bank that has announced plans to tighten monetary policy, with at least three rate hikes expected in 2017. The Fed didn’t always stick to the promises it made in 2016, but we believe this time is different. Furthermore, a new Trump government, resurgence in commodity prices, and global awareness that fiscal policy should take precedent over monetary policy should all bring inflation towards the target levels set by the Federal Reserve.

For the euro, however, the story is very different. It will suffer from the political uncertainty caused by key elections across the eurozone, as well as ongoing Brexit negotiations. The ECB’s extension of QE – along with the steepening of the yield curve – should keep the euro in demand, and readily available, for carry trades. We would expect to see EUR/CHF remain under pressure as a result… 

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The last time OPEC and non-OPEC nations agreed on a coordinated production cut was 15 years ago, and the psychological impact of such a change in strategy alone should be enough to keep oil above $50. While the announced production targets are ambitious, we believe that OPEC’s attempts will be enough to disrupt a period of high oil inventory and bring about a new era, with oil prices stabilising between $50 and $65.

The picture for gold is more mixed. While demand will remain elevated due to the many risk events in 2017, the dollar’s strength and rising yields are making the yellow metal less attractive.

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Reflation is a word that we will hear a lot in 2017. While inflation expectations rose at the end of last year, we believe that there is still some way to go.

Overall, this should prove positive for equities at the detriment of fixed-income assets – although being selective will be particularly important. We expect cyclicals such as finance, industry, energy and IT to perform best, while bond-like equities should remain under pressure.

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