Chinese Manufacturing PMI data slipped below 50 and back into contraction for the first time in over two years and sent equities into a tailspin on the first day of the New Year. This continued the volatility that had been a feature of December.
There was also some rhetoric from Xi Jinping on the trade talks. Despite saying that agreement was in the best interests of both countries, he also suggested that China would not forego anything that was important, casting further doubt on President Trump’s claims that ‘big progress’ was being made. Trump has been notably quiet tweeting about his influence on stock markets since they turned lower.
In the UK we started the year with the usual unwelcome hike in rail fares, even more ironic given the appalling performance of many operators in 2018. Chris Grayling, currently the Transport Secretary, once again sidestepped responsibility blaming the increase on pay rises.
We will also see PMIs through the week, though it looks that FTSE has already taken its lead from international markets and headed lower. All quiet on the Brexit front for the moment, but be prepared for the noise to pick back up next week once Parliament reconvenes.
No-one knows exactly what’s going to happen over the coming months, so do make sure to protect your budget against volatility by locking in the exchange rate with a forward contract. Speak to your Personal Trader on 020 7898 0541 to find out more.