Value Investment Partners Economic Outlook

September 2018

While August posted record highs on the stock market, it showed signs of softening at the back end of the month and this trend spurred into September, with the month starting with a correction before steadily working upwards again. As a result of this, companies such as South32 posted solid returns of +15.27% off a full year profit rise, benefiting from a commodities upswing. Likewise, Seven Group Holdings performed well with +9.65% and Rio Tinto with +8.28% to close out September. Internationally, the most relevant story is still the ongoing trade war between the world’s superpowers of China and the US. With President Trump hitting China with a tariff on $200 billion in goods on top of the original $50 billion taxed in June, the trade war does not show signs of slowing anytime soon, given that the US is on the offensive and China, with the world watching, is determined to save face.The US economy continues to stay strong as it has done all year, with the lowest unemployment rate since 2000. However, the recent round of tariffs could severely impact their economy as everyday goods may become more expensive given that it is debatable as to whether or not the US has the capacity to produce and replace the goods that were originally from China. Further down the chain, if goods aren’t able to be efficiently sourced, this impacts a business’ profit margins and growth, which in turn affects employment. With the US economy powering forward amidst continually murky territory, the Federal Reserve raised rates in order to prevent the American Machine from overheating.In Australia, the east coast has shown weakness in the property market (as has been predicted for three years now), with confidence in the housing market sinking due to falling house prices and tightening credit. While the RBA maintained a cash rate of 1.5%, the big four banks (excluding NAB) raised rates, essentially doing the RBA’s job.