Back in December 2022, taking into consideration various economic factors, I considered what might be in store for investors after a rocky 12 months, I was brave enough to share my thoughts in my final article of the year on how the financial world might play out in 2023. Always a gamble, as those who claim to know really don’t, and none of us have a crystal ball, so let’s see how I faired …
My thoughts in Dec 2022… It seems like we’re finally starting to turn a corner, it will have taken big rate hikes, and we could certainly see a recession in 2023 as a result, but I think we'll have a ‘mission accomplished’ moment at some point in 2023.
Dec 2023 … What a difference a year makes! Finding the correct balance between controlling inflation and boosting economic growth is an extremely difficult task. After a decade and a half of low interest rates, in a bid by central banks to bring inflation under control, we’ve experienced a massive increase in interest rates across the world in a short period of time. As a result, there’s likely to be a lot of distress on company balance sheets, which is currently hidden. However, major econonomies have thus far avoided recession and 2023 has seen inflation moving in the right direction. Avoiding a recession means that credit stress for both businesses and consumers should be limited.
My thoughts in Dec 2022… There are some big catalysts that could lead to much lower mortgage rates at this time next year, such as a recession, a general lack of demand for loans, and the possibility of cooling inflation. In the short term we are likely to see further rate rises, but as inflation is brought back under control and economies weaken, by the end of 2023 we may see interest rates starting to fall again.
Dec 2023 … Following the rapid interest rate rises starting in March 2022, this month the Federal Reserve has finally hinted that rate hikes are over and cuts are coming.
Higher interest rates increase borrowing costs for both consumers and companies, weighing on economic growth and profitability.
One of my main concerns during 2023 has been the knowledge that the under 35s generation have never seen interest rates at 5% … those a little ‘longer in the tooth’ (like me) will remember the days of mortgage interest rates at 15%! With many fixed rate mortgages (fixed at the previous low rates during the last few years) coming to an end over the next 12 to 18 months, it’s crucial for interest rates to pivot from rate hikes to rate cuts in order to avoid a collapse of the housing market and repossessions. It’s been a ticking time bomb, but thankfully, it seems we may have more or less peaked, and it looks like 2024 will start to see those interest rates come down!
My thoughts in Dec 2022… Keep in mind that the stock market is forward-looking. The markets have had a terrible 2022 not necessarily because of what happened in 2022, but because markets anticipated a recession, long-lasting high interest rates, and inflation. If inflation is brought back under control and interest rates start to come down, stock markets could have an excellent 2023.
Dec 2023 …The S&P 500 is less than 2% away from its all-time high last seen in January 2022! Take a look at the following chart. Whilst we’re still in volatile territory, 2023 has brought a reversal of 2022’s pain for many investors.
What goes up must come down, and the same can be said in reverse when it comes to the markets … what comes down must eventually go back up! My advice to clients over the last two years has been to ‘sit tight, in the knowledge that you are positioned well to take advantage of the growth when it comes’. As markets recalibrate, I believe this environment offers attractive investment choices to consider (sooner rather than later for those in cash, as nobody can time the bottom of the market). With the Fed and other central banks now on the verge of cutting interest rates, interest on deposits in the bank will start to fall – and fast! As investors with money on deposit scramble back to the markets in search of growth, those choosing to sit out of the markets until they see gains being made are at risk of missing out on the sales!
It seems that after a difficult two years for many investors, Santa has brought some early gifts and that ‘mission accomplished’ we’ve all been hoping for could finally be on its way!
As I sign off for 2023, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2024!
At Speed Financial Solutions, our aim is to ensure that you are able to enjoy life while we take care of your finances, ensuring you’re set up in the most tax efficient way for your particular circumstances and maximising any investment opportunities as they arise. If you are considering how best to set up your finances for your life in Spain please contact us.
Speed Financial Solutions are a highly qualified and regulated financial services provider looking after clients throughout Spain and the UK. Established in 2010, we provide a discreet and comprehensive service to individuals, and our service is tailored to suit your needs taking advantage of tactical opportunities as they arise in respect of your financial planning.
Our Principal, Andrea Speed, is a qualified Discretionary Investment Manager specialising in Investment and Risk, Taxation and Trusts, and a qualified Pension Specialist. Andrea is also a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which is the world’s largest professional body for insurance and financial services in the world.
Fellowship is the highest qualification awarded by the CII (Level 7) and is universally regarded as the premier qualification. It is a major achievement in the financial industry and demonstrates the acquisition of skills and knowledge at the highest of levels. Along with a Fellowship, Andrea is a CII Chartered Financial Planner.
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This communication is for information purposes only based on our understanding of current legislation and practices which is subject to change and is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice form a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this communication is correct, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions.
Andrea J Speed FPFS (DM), M.A.
Principal, Fellow and Chartered Financial Planner
Speed Financial Solutions
21 December 2023