Why Biden or Trump must urgently secure stable relations with China

Joe Biden or Donald Trump – whoever is the President of the United States come November, their ultimate challenge is to secure “stable relations” with China which would win an all-out trade war, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The warning from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as Mr Biden prepares to give his official acceptance speech on Thursday night to the Democratic National Convention to become the party’s nominee to run against Mr Trump on November 3.

Mr Green says: “Managing China and maintaining America’s fragile economic superiority over its major trade and commerce rival will be the defining foreign policy issue of this presidential election.

“Both the Democratic and the Republican candidates seemingly share a belief that ‘being tough’ on China — or whoever can knock China the most effectively– is going to do well with the electorate.

“Both Biden and Trump will up the China-bashing between now and November 3.”

He continues: “Whilst this strategy might be a political weapon to win the White House, whoever does become the next CEO of the world’s largest economy will have a golden opportunity to secure stable, normalised relations with China.

“And this should be high-up on their agenda.

“Cooperation will benefit both nations by helping to boost global economic growth, encourage investment, secure jobs, keep prices down for consumers, reduce unfair or illegal economic, commercial and technological practices, reduce poverty and environmental problems, and contribute to stopping human-rights abuses and military interventions.”

But there is another major reason, says the deVere CEO, why moving towards amicable relations with China cannot go unmet by the incumbent or the challenger.

“A de-escalation in U.S.-China tensions must be a top priority for whoever is in the Oval Office because it can be very reasonably assumed that China will win an all-out trade war.

“Why? Because America’s trade deficit with China is frequently over-estimated and barely gives it the upper hand.

“Also, China’s central bank — unlike the U.S. Federal Reserve — is not independent and can be made to cut interest rates to bolster domestic demand and devalue the currency to make Chinese exports even more competitive.

“In addition, China is better positioned than America – which has a record budget deficit – to help out industries hit hard by a trade war. 

“Plus, the ruling Communist Party of China can take the political impact of a trade war better than whichever party wins in the U.S. 

“The leaders of China don’t need to play popularity games.”

Mr Green concludes: “Whoever wins the U.S. presidential election must seize the momentum that a win gives a political leader and immediately seek amiable relations with the world’s second-largest economy.”

Investors buoyed by extra U.S. stimulus to support recovery

Investors who have been “paying attention” have been topping–up their investment portfolios and will continue to do so, says the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The comments from Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, which has $12bn under advisement, come as stock markets around the world further rallied on Tuesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced an expansion to its historic stimulus programme.

Mr Green affirms: “Global stocks have been buoyed by the news from the Fed – the world’s de facto central bank – to buy individual corporate bonds in addition to the exchange-traded funds it is already purchasing, to support the world’s largest economy.

“This extra stimulus acts as a ‘backstop’ or ‘floor’ for equities. 

“The additional Fed support was widely expected by the markets and therefore, investors who have been paying attention have been topping-up their investment portfolios recently as entry points will inevitably continue to go higher as we move forward.”

He continues: “It is likely that savvy investors will continue to enhance portfolios as the backing is likely to be maintained for years, not quarters.

“Also, it has been reported that President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing to unveil a $1 trillion infrastructure package. This will further boost asset prices.”

The deVere boss called the additional measures last week. 

He noted on Thursday June 11: “Further stimulus can be expected from the Fed – and also perhaps from Congress too – in the near future… This will support and likely boost asset prices moving forward. Investors will now be eyeing the opportunities before any fresh or enhanced stimulus packages are announced.”

London’s FTSE 100 and Frankfurt’s Dax both jumped 2.2% in morning trading on Tuesday, the pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 gained 2%. U.S. futures markets suggested that U.S. stocks would rise further when trading begins on Wall Street, with S&P 500 futures up 1%.

In Asia-Pacific, Tokyo’s Topix shot up 4% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 3.9%. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 2.4% while China’s CSI 300 index was 1.5% higher.

Nigel Green concludes: “Few things can fuel markets like another stimulus injection.

“The message investors are taking away is that the U.S. central bank and government are prepared to do whatever it takes to support the recovery.”

No-deal Brexit fears trigger investors to seek international options

Growing fears of a no-deal Brexit will prompt an increasing number of British and international investors to move their financial assets overseas out of the UK, believes the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.
 
The observation from Nigel Green, founder and chief executive of deVere Group, which has $12bn under advisement, comes as the UK formally rejects an extension to the Brexit transition period – raising the risk of a no-deal departure at the end of the year.
 
Mr Green notes: “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK is suffering its deepest recession in 300 years. Nevertheless, the government is sticking with its hard Brexit plans.

“Concerns over the fallout from a no-deal Brexit will prompt an increasing number of British and international investors to move their financial assets overseas out of the UK.”

He continues: “Should the UK leave with no-deal, the already weak pound – which is one of the world’s worst-performing currencies this year – is likely to remain weak for several years to come until Britain and the EU readjust. It has already shed about 20% of its value since the EU referendum in 2016.

“A low pound can help to reduce people’s purchasing power and lead to a drop in UK living standards. Weaker sterling means imports are more expensive, with rising costs being passed on to consumers.”

The drop in sterling is good for UK exports some insist, however around half of the country’s exports rely on imported components. “These will become more expensive as the pound falls in value,” noted Mr Green.

“In addition, a weaker pound is, of course, bad news for British expats, amongst others, who receive income or pensions in sterling and as Brits looking to travel overseas,” he added.
 
The deVere CEO goes on to say: “Britain appears to be sleepwalking towards an economic blackhole.
 
“People are already becoming increasingly nervous about this situation.  Many will, inevitably and quite sensibly be looking to build and protect their wealth by moving assets overseas through various established international financial solutions.
 
“The pace of this trend is likely to increase over the next few months as the issues look set to ramp-up.”

Expert comment from Warwick Business School

Warwick Business School

Commenting as Easyjet announced it would resume flights next month,

Professor Loizos Heracleous, an aviation industry expert at Warwick Business School, said:

“Airlines will face a number of challenges as they resume flights. For example, if governments require them to observe social distancing rules on planes, that would mean middle seats are left empty.

“This would reduce capacity and lead to an increase in ticket prices. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), prices would have to rise by 40-50 per cent, just for airlines to break even.

“The good news for airlines is that they will benefit from lower oil prices and research is already under way that may enable equipment to sniff out coronavirus before passengers board.

“Airlines have been forced to conserve cash to survive, cutting flights, reducing their workforce, and postponing capital investment. However, social habits including the urge to travel have not changed. Provided we find ways to control the virus, through testing, treatment or a vaccine, the industry should be back to pre-pandemic levels within two to three years.

“Aviation is too essential to wither. It is here to stay and the market system is resilient enough to ensure the industry thrives after this temporary setback.”

Pound could drop even further – to $1.18 – in June: deVere CEO

The pound – this month’s worst-performing major currency – could “easily drop to $1.18” at the end of June, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The warnings from deVere Group’s chief executive and founder Nigel Green come as it is revealed that the British currency shed almost 4% against the U.S. dollar in May and 3% against the euro.

Mr Green comments: “The pound is this year’s third-weakest major currency – just behind the New Zealand dollar and Norwegian krone, which have done even worse.

“The pound has been battered since the Brexit referendum in 2016 and the ensuing years of political uncertainty, losing around 20% of its value since the referendum. 

“The Covid-19 crisis has been another hammer blow for sterling as it promoted a flight-to-safety and ramped-up the search for liquidity.  This situation is a win for the U.S. dollar and, in turn, a loss for the pound.”

He continues: “There are legitimate concerns that the pound has further to fall in the next few weeks.

“It could easily drop to $1.17-$1.18 by the end of June due to renewed and heightened fears of a negative shock due to a no-deal Brexit combined with the far-reaching economic fallout of the pandemic.”

Negotiations between the UK and the EU on their post-Brexit future relationship stalled on Friday with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier saying the two sides risked reaching a “stalemate.”

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly threatened to walk away from the talks if insufficient progress has been made by next month’s high-level negotiations. The UK has indicated the alternative of an “Australia-style” deal, a relationship where both sides trade on basic World Trade Organization terms, similar to a no-deal Brexit.

“An even weaker pound will help to reduce people’s purchasing power and a drop in UK living standards. Weaker sterling means imports are more expensive, with rising costs being passed on to consumers,” says Mr Green.
 
“The fall in the pound is good for exports some claim, but it must be remembered that around 50% of UK exports rely on imported components. These will become more expensive as the pound falls in value.
 
“A low pound is, of course, bad news for British expats, amongst others, who receive income or pensions in sterling.
 
“The country’s financial services sector – which represents 6% of all economic activity – will also be adversely affected because it is built on foreign investment that puts its faith in sterling being strong.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “The pound will remain volatile, and is likely to become weaker in the next month.
 
“As such, it can be expected that domestic and international investors in UK assets will be seeking the available international options available to them.”

Negative interest rates are coming, investors taking action: deVere CEO

Negative interest rates are coming and investors will now be looking to bolster their portfolios to ‘get ahead of the curve and build wealth’, says the CEO and founder of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.

deVere Group’s Nigel Green is speaking out after rate options, which gauge monetary policy forecasts, implied on Monday a 23% likelihood that the key federal funds rate will drop below zero by the end of 2020, according to BofA Securities data.

It’s not just the U.S., the world’s largest economy, which is moving towards this scenario.

On Tuesday, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England also suggested that the UK may be headed toward negative interest rates.

Mr Green comments: “A new global era of negative interest rates would have been unimaginable even a few months ago.  But this has now changed due to the coronavirus.

“As central banks around the world grapple to control the economic impact, it can be reasonably expected that more and more of them will take a dramatic change of policy course and take rates to below zero – like their peers in Europe and Japan.”

He continues: “There is legitimate debate about the efficacy of negative interest rates on boosting economies. 

“They could turn out to be a masterclass in the law of unintended consequences as they could be viewed by consumers and investors that the underlying economies are in a perilous position and, as a result, prompt a drop in consumer and investor demand.”

Whilst the debate on whether negative interest rates help the ‘real economy’ or not will continue, there is no doubt that they help boost financial asset prices.
 
“With this firmly in their minds, market-wise investors will know be looking to bolster their portfolios before the next round of cuts and the likely subsequent price increase. They are taking advantage of the lower entry points now before the next major rally,” notes Nigel Green.
 
He goes on to add: “In addition, those with savings in the bank are already getting no return thanks to the ultra-low interest rates.  Negative rates will offer them more reason to increase their exposure to equities, for example.”
 
The deVere CEO concludes: “The question mark remains on whether cutting rates from their already low levels will solve the issues created by the coronavirus outbreak.
 
“I believe, due to the economic situation and the hints from central banks, that there are more rate cuts on their way as they know it’s not sustainable to just keep printing money.

“This ‘direction of travel’ will push up financial asset prices and, as such, many investors are now looking to get ahead of the curve and build wealth.”

Are rallying stock markets out of step with economic reality?

Buoyant stock markets are not necessarily ignoring alarming economic data, rather they are reflecting the post-pandemic era, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.

The observation from deVere Group chief executive and founder Nigel Green comes as official figures on Friday revealed that more than 20 million people in the U.S. lost their jobs in April and the unemployment rate more than trebled.

Mr Green comments: “The staggering U.S. unemployment numbers wipe out a decade’s worth of job gains. There’s been nothing like this since the Great Depression.

“Yet U.S. stock futures climbed higher as global markets rose on Friday.  This is highly unusual.”

He continues: “There are two things happening simultaneously here.

“First, a weak first half of 2020 has already been priced-in. 

“As have the risks of a potential second wave – but the concerns of this are being largely contained as it is not such a ‘bolt out of the blue’.

“It is extreme uncertainty, the likes of which we saw at the peak of the pandemic, that typically upsets markets.

“Whether they are correct in their assessment remains to be seen, but markets are looking towards the second half of the year.  They appear to believe that there is likely to be a steady economic recovery as key advances are made in coronavirus treatments, as central banks continue to implement and further bolster historic stimulus packages, and as lockdown restrictions around the world are eased to revive activity.”

He goes on to add: “Second, and perhaps more importantly, stock markets are reflecting what is going on in the economy right now and what it’ll look like post-pandemic.

“A closer look at the markets reveals that, of course, not all stocks and sectors are rising equally. They are being driven up across the board by the ‘winners’ of this new era including tech, biotech, home entertainment and established online retailers, amongst others.

“We can assume that these, and other stock market ‘winners’, are showing us what the future economy looks like.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “The optimistic stock markets seem at odds with the grim economic data.  They may be being overly confident, even complacent.

“But it could also be the case that they are giving us clear signals for the current and future shape of the economy, in which there are and will be distinct winners and losers. 

“A good fund manager will help investors seek out the opportunities and mitigate potential risks as and when they are presented to generate and build their wealth.”

Towards economic recovery: a simple, quick and targeted way for authorities to support those most in need

As political leaders across Europe are contemplating how to best prepare the restart of our economies, European Fintechs Loyaltek and Paynovate launch the Unity Card (unitycard.eu): an initiative enabling authorities to financially support certain segments of the population, such as the most underprivileged, but also to specifically target local retailers and merchants who’ve had to close their businesses. 

The special payment card, which will exceptionally be free to municipalities as the first, local level of power, can be delivered anywhere on the Old Continent in as fast as 2-4 weeks and avoids cumbersome logistics and administration, allowing for effective, ultra-targeted, monitorable and evolutive socio-economic measures on the road to economic recovery.

Brussel, 24 april 2020. As the Corona curves are slowly but surely starting to flatten, the focus is gradually shifting towards the next challenge: relaunching the economy. Whilst national governments and international institutions across Europe and the world are announcing unprecedented crisis measures, it remains to be seen if these will be enough, and especially, whether the aid can be deployed quickly enough to save those in need today. Therefore, decisive action needs to be taken today rather than tomorrow.

With a view to this, European FinTech pioneers and veterans Loyaltek and Paynovate are teaming up in a unique proposal to political leaders, with the aim of offering citizens much needed and rapid financial support by means of the Unity Card. As innovative as it is useful, this debit card can be limited for use in a certain geographical area (e.g. one municipality) as well as a certain types of predetermined shops or businesses, in this case those that have been forced to close during the current crisis: hotels, restaurants, bars, hairdressers, DIY-stores, clothes stores… As such, it is the perfect instrument to stimulate the local economy and prevent the money disappearing to foreign e-commerce websites, being sent to family abroad, or saved.

Whether it’s to support merchants who have had to close their business or to help a mother feed her children: our leaders, from municipal to national level, are looking for ways to mitigate the effects of the lockdown and prepare for a return to normal life and economic recovery,” explains Robert Masse, founder and CEO of Loyaltek and expert in the field of card payments. “But time is running out, and the question arises as to how to allocate these various resources as quickly and efficiently as possible, while at the same time avoiding any risks of fraud and ensuring that public money serves its intended purpose, to the extent of creating a win-win situation and benefiting society as a whole.”

The Unity Card has a maximum value of €250 and works just like a regular debit card on payment terminals. The validity period can be adapted in function of the needs and intended support. Users can check the remaining value thanks to a QR code on the back, while an extranet allows the issuing authority to monitor, analyse, manage and even adjust the way its cards are being used, all in real-time. And thus, once again in this crisis, it’s new technologies that are offering relief in a situation which at first seemed insoluble.

“In a spirit of social commitment, our R&D teams wanted to make themselves useful against the horrors of the Corona virus. Ultimately, it’s the pragmatism and the potential of this solution which convinced us to set up the necessary partnerships to deploy it throughout Europe,” concludes Robert Masse. “The name, which of course stands for solidarity, came naturally, and we have decided to offer the first 5,000 cards to each of the municipalities that want to work with it, given that they’re the ones closest to the situation on the ground. Implementation costs are kept to a minimum and amount to a fraction of the usual costs of similar ‘traditional’ measures. Moreover, we do not take any margin on the transactions.”

The solution proposed by Loyaltek and Paynovate has proven its worth before in Germany at the time of the migration crisis, when authorities distributed thousands of similar cards to manage the allowances of Syrian refugees, allowing them to provide in their most basic needs by purchasing from local merchants.

The appearance of the Unity Card can be personalised if necessary. It is distributed either directly to the beneficiaries or by group transmission to the competent authority, which can then further distribute it. The payments made by citizens with the card are managed together with the rest of the merchants’ payment traffic, while cardholder support is ensured by Loyaltek or the ‘customer’ himself, i.e. the issuing authority.

Loyaltek NV is a European leader in limited range cards and manages numerous gift card and professional expense cards programmes in 14 countries. Its clients include Sodexo, Ingenico, Total and a great number of major commercial real estate players. They call on Loyaltek’s expertise for specific and technically advanced projects.

Paynovate NV is one of the six Belgian issuers of electronic money, regulated by the National Bank of Belgium and authorised to issue payment instruments in all European countries. Paynovate is also a principal member of Visa and Bancontact.

Three investment reasons to be cheerful amid the economic upheaval

Right now the world is facing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and many people across the world are going through extremely hard times.

But we also need to try and focus on the compelling positives there are now to create, build and safeguard money to reach our financial goals for ourselves and our loved ones.

The message from Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects global growth in 2020 to fall to -3 per cent. This is a downgrade of 6.3 percentage points from January 2020, clearly a significant downward revision within a very short time period. 

Nigel Green comments: “The world has changed considerably in the first quarter of 2020. Coronavirus has sparked a truly global crisis like no other, with a horrifyingly high and tragic number of human lives lost. 

“It has also been a monstrous source of economic upheaval and uncertainty for households, businesses and governments.

“But in these most unusual of times, it’s essential to seek the positives and there are increasingly significant reasons within the market to be cheerful. 

“Looking beyond the gloom, many investors are using these to create, build and safeguard their money right now.”

He continues: “I believe that there are three main investment reasons to be cheerful.

“First, the market is cheap by historic standards and this represents a major, perhaps once-in-a-generation chance to buy top quality equities at lower prices to bolster investment portfolios.  History shows that stock markets always go up over time.

“Second the worldwide loosening of monetary and fiscal policies.  This will serve as a bridge for economies until the crisis passes and will go a long way to boost both supply and demand across all sectors. In turn, this will lead to more investment, increased confidence, and longer-term job and wealth creation.

“Third, pent-up demand will hit the global economy when lockdowns are lifted. Many people have not lost their jobs or suffered reduced incomes and have saved money during the lockdown. We can expect demand in sectors such as autos, travel, hospitality and entertainment to be strong.”

Whilst some investors appear to have not only locked down themselves, but also their financial strategies, increasingly both retail and institutional investors are “rightly looking beyond only the dark picture,” says Mr Green.

The deVere CEO concludes. “No economy – developed or emerging – has been spared this downturn, the worst since The Great Depression. The uncertain economic landscape is impacting on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“However, I also would urge investors to mitigate risks to their money and help create and grow wealth by looking towards the undeniable and compelling positive areas amid this tragic and unprecedented global situation.” 

Coronavirus Research Index Reveals which Countries Put the most Effort in COVID-19 Research

Finbold.com has launched the Coronavirus Research Index (CRI) to identify countries that are putting in the most effort in finding ways to manage the COVID-19 disease.

The index ranks the countries based on the number of active medical coronavirus studies that show which countries are actually executing the most research related to COVID-19 to understand the virus to find the effective means of managing the disease. According to the Index, China, the United States, and France are the top three countries leading in the number of active studies related to coronavirus.

China leads in studying coronavirus

The CRI shows that China has 60 active studies, with the United States having 49 ongoing studies. On the other hand, France has 26 active studies. Idas Keb, a co-founder at Finbold, on the findings commented:

“Interestingly, the index also reveals that while there is some correlation between countries that have the most COVID-19 cases and the number of medical studies, the majority of the countries are still far behind on coronavirus research. For example, Spain, which is second by the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, is not within the top 5 countries in the research index.”

The report features studies that are labeled as ‘Active’ on the ClinicalTrials.gov database. The studies have a different status like Recruiting, Not yet recruiting, Active not recruiting and Enrolling by invitation.

The research index also highlights the study title, the status of the study, the institutions carrying out the study and the interventions placed into managing the condition.

Currently, the Finbold.com Coronavirus Research Index identifies 39 countries with ongoing studies on COVID-19. All listed countries have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

You can find the research and try out the tool here: https://finbold.com/coronavirus-research-index/