Global Markets Taken Off-Guard Twice in One Year… So What’s Next?

2016 will go down in history as one of the monumentally important and surprising years the modern world has ever known. Whether or not the surprises have been positive is a matter of opinion, but few could have predicted the astonishing impact 2016 would have on the future of the entire world.

First came Brexit – the UK’s decision to break from the European Union, despite what appeared to be overwhelming support for the ‘remain’ camp. Opinion polls, studies and judging the general consensus – Brexit seemed like something that could not and would not happen. Fast-forward a few months and we have a similar situation in the United States. Only this time, it’s in the form of a presidential election.

When Donald Trump first threw down the gauntlet, nobody took him seriously. As his fight for the White House intensified, the opposition became increasingly afraid of him, though the overall result was still a no-brainer. Polls, public opinion, experts and so on, all signs pointed to a clear, if not exactly landslide, Clinton victory. Which didn’t happen – President Elect Trump is now ready and waiting to take his seat in the Oval Office.

Needless to say, a seriously odd year – a 12-month period that caught global markets off-guard no less than twice. Which from a financial and political perspective has communicated one thing very clearly:

The same could, and probably will, happen elsewhere.

Political parties in a number of countries are waking up to the fact that what seemed to be impossible at the beginning of this year is now well within the realms of reality. Or perhaps even, a likely outcome.

Take the far right National Front Party of France, headed by Marine Le Pen. Not too long ago, the prospect of her party taking power in the country would have been interpreted as pure nonsense. Today though, nothing of the sort. She and those who support her have taken the example set by Donald Trump as one that can be put to use in other countries, leading to the kinds of political victories that once seemed impossible. There are mounting concerns that similar movements could gain power in Germany, Italy and other EU nations.

And given the way in which so many member states are known to be mulling their own EU memberships, the chances of things unravelling before our eyes appear to be growing all the time.

As far as the investment community is concerned, the message appears to be a simple one: expect the unexpected. Which is all well and good, but at the same time makes it incredibly difficult to find a safe haven. Take the example of mass pharmaceutical stock sales prior to Hillary Clinton winning the election…which she didn’t.

In turbulent and unpredictable times like this, professional and fully independent financial advice should be considered mandatory by anyone interested in looking after their finances. So before you make any short or long-term decisions, reach out to Haven IFA for a consultation.