16th July 2015
Financial markets and the euro will move higher on news that Greece has a reasonable chance of staying within the eurozone but the Greek saga isn’t over yet, risks remain high, although investors’ primary focus should be the US and China, warns Nigel Green, founder and chief executive of independent financial advisory firm deVere Group. He explains why…
Greek politicians voted overwhelmingly in the early hours of Thursday to approve tough austerity measures, including sweeping tax hikes and spending cuts, demanded by bailout creditors. The yes vote has saved Greece from the abyss. There are many positives to be taken from the landmark vote.
The agreement to start formal negotiations about a three-year bailout for Greece signals that the country wants to stay in the euro and modernise its economy.
The agreement puts considerable emphasis on pro-growth structural reforms to product and labour markets, as well as governance.
It keeps banks open; there will be a phasing out of capital controls; pensions, wages and unemployment benefits can very likely be paid in euros; and it gives a mandate for a deal to now be struck that takes account of the new Greek realities and that includes, as the IMF says now, restructuring of the debt which is clear to everyone is unsustainable.
Also, it brings an end to the dangerous delusions of the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tspiras and his party, Syriza, which have pushed Greece into recession and almost to the European exit door.
In addition, and importantly – despite the fact that austerity will weigh heavy on the economy – it is likely to also help boost confidence amongst Greeks in their own future.
Financial markets will be trading off the news that there seems to be a Greek plan in place and a wider political consensus. Stock markets and the Euro will rise as some degree of certainty replaces the brinkmanship between Athens and Brussels.
However, the Greek saga isn’t over yet. Big hurdles remain. Things can still go wrong. There will still be a lot of noise in the negotiations, the implementation and the management of the bailout. Therefore, there are still risks, which create market turbulence and investors should monitor the situation carefully.
Having said that, most investors should shift their primary focus to the U.S. and China. These are the areas that will set the market volatility agendas in months to come.
There is growing noise regarding concerns about China’s real economy which is heavily indebted and slowing – despite the latest official economic data from China being largely better than expected.
And despite the eventual U.S. rate rise – probably taking place this year judging by Janet Yellen’s comments – already being partially priced in, analysts admit that the full impact on markets cannot be fully predicted.
Although the next few months may well be volatile, there is plenty of upside potential too. The history of stock market investing proves, after all, that optimism pays.
Investors should seek a good fund manager who will be able to help take advantage of these opportunities and secure the best stocks at the right time for their clients.
In addition, investors need to ensure that they have a properly balanced portfolio, which is one diversified across geographical regions, asset classes and industrial sectors. A well-diversified portfolio is a vital tool to managing risk and gaining advantage, especially in times of increasing market volatility.