All Eyes East

I hope this contact finds you still keeping safe and well.

As we move forward things have changed by some way since my last update and we have seen somewhere around 25% of the global population on lockdown.

It’s crazy to think that in these modern times we would see such an event touch the whole world at the same time.

As many of you know we are an NHS household and we joined in with a round of applause as did almost all of our neighbours. It was a lovely gesture and I do hope the NHS staff know that we all appreciate them so much for all they do. Let’s hope at the end of this nurses and other similar staff get larger salaries!

So, what’s changed? As you would expect I am working from home like most of the UK Financial Services sector but its very much business as normal.

The view from my window is different but day to day business life is very much the same.

Fund managers and product providers have been in constant contact and we continue to monitor and review our positions with each company or fund at this time.  As I have said before if I feel a move is warranted or we need to take action I will look to step in.

These providers know we are at our desks so its video and conference calls along with market commentary and data nonstop. I’m glad that we have seen an increase in a level of activity on this front as this ensures we are dealing with the right providers as they are being so proactive.

I mentioned before about volatile markets and we saw the best day (positive) of trading since 1933 the other day, which to my mind speaks volumes that we have seen these mega trading days both up and down over such a short space of time. As I write this the FTSE 100 and the Dow Jones have seen a positive week but news over the weekend could see this change Monday.

The world economy seems happier with more countries being on lockdown as this gives a greater chance of the virus being controlled and some normality coming back quicker.

The recent emergency Bank of England base rate cut hasn’t filtered down quite yet to savings rates, but I do expect this in due course. It’s now 0.1%, if you had missed this.

With a little more time on all our hands at home, maybe seeking out some better savings rates could be a good outcome for us all. Feel free to ask if you want some help on this.

The Chancellor has now played his hand in full we believe and thrown almost all but the kitchen sink at the recovery. I was disappointed last night at the support provided for self-employed overall, but I understand the battle he has on this with fluctuating earnings, not fully disclosing, control, etc etc.

Most countries now if not all have cut rates and provided large stimulus packages and provided some assurance to companies and households.

It’s never been tried or seen before so how quick this filters down to everyday life will be hard to see. We will see companies fail over this time and maybe ones that have been clinging on for dear life for some time. Flybe is a good example of that.

The investment market has recovered well, but not fully in a short space of time and as the title of this points out all eyes are now East. With China being hit by the virus first we are now seeing working in Wuhan returning back to normal on split shifts, lockdowns lifted and day to day life reappearing.

Productivity has increased and demand for raw materials has come back online, oil being the notable commodity here. This will create demand, given there will have been some stockpiling but that will only last for so long.

How China and the surrounding countries then stabilise will lead this recovery I do feel, and this will see the rest of the developed world very much keeping their eyes East.

My concern here is this is a false dawn of a recovery and what we see here is a dip once we all think we are out of the woods. I do feel this is still a play to caution and one in which until we see some further stability, a flattening or reducing number of cases and deaths then this will see volatile markets that will react on “any” news.

As you would expect we continue to monitor all this as we move forward and as always, I am only at the end of the phone.  My mobile is now the best and most reliable way of speaking to me direct.

Finally, over the coming weeks and potentially months we all can feel isolated and alone. So, I can’t stress this enough, please just call me if you are feeling like this.

It’s always lovely to hear off you and you may not that you want to talk business, it can just be for a chat and I’m quite happy to bore you with stories of the Niamh who is now 23 weeks and very active.

I will look to continue to update you in due course and I look forward to speaking to you soon,