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Focus

Absence (of market volatility) made the heart grow fonder

Investors are fearful that inflation will rise faster than expected due to the impact of a weak dollar on import prices and rising wages, and that as a result interest rates may also rise faster than expected. But the reemergence of wage growth may be a positive for economic growth and corporate earnings.

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The flipside of the (crypto) coin

At the end of 2017, crypto currencies were on everyone lips and screens, with Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum boasting incredible performances of 1,400%, 36,000% and 9,100% respectively for the year.

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Back to normality

The strong start into the year left markets vulnerable. However, we remain constructive due to solid economic fundamentals.

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Q4 growth data reveal domestic demand remains robust

We are not disappointed by last quarter’s GDP growth number as it underlined solid domestic demand, accompanied by strong durable goods orders. In the details, the BEA report shows that GDP was supported by a 4.3% rise in real domestic final sales, one of the strongest quarter of the expansion to date.

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Davos, Trump, China and French growth

The world balance is changing under the influence of China as it seeks to establish a different path for globalization. America is trying to stage a response at Davos with the White House realizing that America needs its partners in order to be great again. Meanwhile, French growth is running into physical obstacles: the 2% trend is a peak, at least in the short term.

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Cryptocurrencies are no substitute for gold

Bitcoin’s parabolic price rise was the big story of 2017 – putting the spotlight on the cryptocurrency market. While gold’s performance was a solid 13%, it was a fraction of the 13-fold increase of bitcoin by the end of the year.

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