A calendar of potential investment shocks on the horizon

David Brett

David Brett

Investment Writer

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The vote for Brexit and the victory of Donald Trump in the US election have been seen by some as an anti-establishment backlash and a vote against the economic status quo.

Like Brexit, the implications of Donald Trump’s presidency remain unclear. The market’s response to both events has been to fluctuate wildly.

While investing for such one-off events is risky – it is like betting on the toss of a coin – investors still need to be aware of the events over the next 12 months that could shake the market.

Here we take a look what those events might be and explain why they might increase volatility in financial markets.


30 November 2016: OPEC meeting

What might happen?

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) must decide whether or not to cut production.

Why is it important?

Inflation is the elephant in the room for investors. A cut in production could lead to a rise in the price of oil, which means it would cost more to make and deliver the goods we buy. That can lead to a rise in inflation, which will put additional strain on global growth and put pressure on central bankers to raise rates.

4 December 2016: Italian referendum

What might happen?

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is risking his job with ambitious plans to overhaul government. It involves drastically reducing the role of the upper house Senate and taking powers back from regional governments.

Opinion polls are making increasingly grim reading for Renzi, according to Reuters. Defeat could force him to resign, which opens the door to the Eurosceptic, anti-establishment Five Star movement.

Why is it important?

Five Star has called for a vote on leaving the eurozone at a time when the country’s banks are on the precipice of another crisis. Eurozone rules make it difficult for a sovereign state to bail out its own banks.

End 2016: Greek debt refinancing

What might happen?

Greece has long bartered with European Union (EU) leaders over bailouts – the money they should take and the conditions that go with it. The next round of talks is likely to be fraught again.

Why is it important?

The very future of the eurozone could hang in the balance should Greece decide to renege on its debts and leave.

June 2017: French general election

What might happen?

Socialist president Francois Hollande remains unpopular, while former president and conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy is in the running for his job. The outcome of the election, however, is uncertain.

There is also the threat of the far right National Front’s Marine Le Pen’s candidacy. How far she will get in the election remains unclear, but her campaign appears to be gaining momentum.

Why is it important?

Leaving the EU is among Le Pen’s policies. UK bookmaker William Hill slashed the odds on Le Pen winning the election to 2/1 from 6/1 following Trump’s victory in the US.

October 2017: German general election

What might happen?

There is no guarantee that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will run for a fourth term in office. Much will depend on the outcome of the regional elections in May.

Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has already suffered a shock defeat in the Berlin state election in September 2016.

Why is it important?

Merkel has long been the guardian of the European project but many Germans have been unhappy with her refugee policy. Should Merkel decide not to run or her party lose the general election it could create more uncertainty over the future of the eurozone.

A view from Keith Wade, Chief Economist:

“Trump’s win in the US election is further proof that momentum is building behind the populist vote,” said Keith Wade, Schroders Chief Economist.

“Like the UK’s decision to leave the EU, however, the impact of the result of the US election is difficult to fathom until firm policies are announced.

“The concern more broadly for investors is that it could galvanise anti-EU support across Europe, which in turn could jeopardise the whole European project and that leaves a huge question mark over the global economic backdrop.”