Fear. This has driven a lot of volatility this year. There are concerns in China, mainly due to the fact no one really can get a handle on whether they are doing well or not, as well as concerns over the banking sector particularly in Europe.
On top of this, the cheapest prices on oil and other commodities means companies producing these commodities (i.e. our dairy farms and Australia’s mines) are having a hard time.
The volatility of the year has continued through February; however the anticipated sharp rebound did occur this month after January declines, however markets are broadly down for the year to date.
The year ahead is looking to continue to have these ups and downs, and really the biggest problem in the world is debt. In the medium term it would seem until some serious growth starts to occur to clear this debt, this period of volatility will continue.
From a practical perspective it means a period of low interest rates, low petrol prices and hopefully low prices all round. Whilst it means that returns from fixed interest will be lower, the implication is that inflation will stay low, thus purchasing power is retained.