News / Views

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2017 was a benign year for investors, with the ongoing expansion of the world economy providing a supportive environment for share prices. While forecasts for global growth were increasing, there were few indications this could lead to a sustained rise in inflation which would require a material increase in interest rates.

The last year has been a benign one for investors, with the ongoing expansion of the world economy providing a supportive environment for share prices; though forecasts for global growth have been increasing, there have been few indications this could lead to a rise in inflation which would require a material increase in interest rates.

Most stock markets have continued to deliver healthy gains over the last year, as confidence in the growth outlook for the world economy - and the Eurozone in particular - has increased.

2017 is expected to be the eighth consecutive year of worldwide economic expansion after the recession caused by the Global Financial Crisis. The ongoing growth of Western economies and extended period of low inflation has enabled investors to continue to make strong gains, with all major asset classes producing positive returns over the last twelve months.

The last twelve months were largely characterised by subdued global economic growth and inflation, owing to constrained corporate and consumer sentiment.

Many stock markets were close to all-time highs a year ago, but have subsequently declined against a backdrop of increased volatility; the FTSE All-World index ended the twelve month period to 31 May 2016 lower by 0.2% in sterling terms.

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