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Complicated picture suggests taking a step back
The global equity market sell-off calmed this week, even though the predicted bounce back petered out sooner than most had expected with selling pressures already returning mid-week. This left stock markets roughly where they had been the previous Friday, i.e. in a sad state from a 2018 year to date perspective. Average earnings growth of above 20% reported by the first cohort of US and European companies of this earnings season failed to impress equity investors and were regularly greeted with selling rather than buying orders.

Is Brexit keeping a lid on UK interest rates?
Those observing the UK’s steadily improving macroeconomic data points may well come to the impression that, if it wasn’t for Brexit, UK interest rates would otherwise be following their US peers higher. And even considering it, the country is very unlikely to fall off the economic cliff edge next year – given that some form of compromise is still by far the most probable Brexit outcome. Surely then, rates should be higher than they currently are.

Saudi, Oil and the Middle East
The suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia is gripping international media. Fresh reports confirming the Kingdom’s guilt seem to emerge each day, and pressure is mounting on the young Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. As well as condemnations and threats of reprimands from international politicians, many of the Saudis’ commercial partners are trying to distance themselves from the kingdom.

China: Command economy vs. a free but regulated economy
Economic growth in China has dropped to its lowest level since 2009. Official GDP figures released this week show that activity in the third quarter of this year was 6.5% higher than a year before – the lowest growth number since the depth of the financial crisis nearly 10 years ago.

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