The changes in tone from central banks drove global financial markets in June. The Bank of England and the European Central Bank appear unlikely to follow the path of the Federal Reserve in hiking rates this year. Political uncertainties in the UK grew in June following the Conservative party failing to achieve a majority just weeks before the beginning of already uncertain Brexit negotiations. In addition, questions linger over US economic policy and the ability to implement legislation.
Economic prospects in the Euro Area appear to be improving with GDP growth up to 2% this year, although inflation remains below target. The US has continued to grow, with an annual GDP growth rate of around 2%, whilst the UK has outperformed post-Brexit expectations, albeit with signs of a slowdown ahead. Emerging markets have benefitted from loose global monetary policy conditions and accelerating growth. In turn this has benefitted corporate profits, with earnings rising above the stagnant conditions of the past 2 years, up over 10% year-to-date in the US, and beyond this in Europe and Japan.