Japan offers a lesson in resilience

Japan's apparent stagnation belies strengths that Western economies would do well to learn from, argues Christine Shields

Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

Japan’s economy has been becalmed for much of the past three decades. Yet living standards are amongst the highest in the world and the country is noted for its consensus approach as well as its political stability. So why the external image of stagnation? Here we examine some of the structural issues that are both a strength and a weakness for what is still the third largest economy in the world.

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China’s precarious balancing act

Christine Shield asks if China's economic miracle can survive the shifting political backdrop?

Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash

China’s global economic and political clout has soared in the past four decades or so. But in 2021, new political signals emerged that had previously been seen just as worst case fears. In particular, Beijing’s militaristic behavior in the South China Sea and over Taiwan have sounded alarm bells both within Asia and in the West. But also its covert strategy of creating resource security by investing in key countries is becoming more worrying, with recipients beginning to question China’s motives.

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Portfolio commentary: boring blue chips, please

Why I’ve taken a position in dull but worthy City of London Investment Trust

Photo by Erik Jacobson on Unsplash

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m going to begin building my Sipp with a few well-selected investment trusts – an instant portfolio if you like, hopefully bought at a discount to the underlying value of the assets in them.

Trusts in this report

Source: SharePad

A few readers also offered a few suggestions of trusts I could look at, among them Scottish Mortgage which at the time I wrote was trading at about 1,461p a share, an 8% premium to its net asset value (NAV). I’ve long liked Scottish Mortgage and would like to join my kids and many others in owning it, but as I said, the premium was too punchy for me given I reckon markets are looking pretty frothy.

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Watch out for US flashpoints in 2022

Political division, military threats and sticky inflation could give investors in the US sleepless nights next year. Christine Shields takes a look at Uncle Sam's biggest concerns.

For an economy as globally dominant as the US, the prospect of another government shutdown smacks of astonishing fiscal mismanagement. Yet such a threat recurs with alarming regularity, most recently this month. Agreement has just been reached to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5trn to $31.4trn to fund the government until February, when the issue will again be considered.

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Quality Shares Weekly: 17/12/21

Where to go stock hunting as rates rise, pubs’ pain, boohoo’s latest booboo, and Domino’s welcome delivery 

Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

After the week began with an eyewatering November inflation reading which showed CPI hitting 5.1%, the big news has been that the Bank of England shocked everyone once again by actually raising the benchmark interest rate by 15 basis points to 0.25%. After totally wrong-footing everyone in the previous month by not raising rates when universally expected, perhaps observers were simply taking a more cautious approach to predicting what the MPC might do next. Either way, lots of pundits remain unamaused by the Old Lady's antics.

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