Our last publication focused on the potential impact of the UK Brexit referendum on European real estate markets. Now, the focus is on the growing momentum of populist rhetoric and political uncertainty in the runup to elections in France and Germany later this year.
Indeed, a poll of fund managers by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) found that the break-up of the European Union was seen as the biggest tail risk for 2017; any good news on the economic front will thus help to calm investor fears.
European economic news for December 2016 was positive and served to boost financial markets, with the Eurostoxx rising by more than 6% in December. Specifically, purchasing managers’ indices (PMIs) recorded the fastest growth in manufacturing output since April 2011 (as at 31 December 2016). The Eurozone average for the final quarter (54.0) was solidly above the third quarter level (52.1). Underpinning the improved performance of the Eurozone manufacturing sector was faster growth of production and new orders.
A strong performance from Italy, where the index reached 53.2 (a six-month high), reassured investors, who have been worried by banking-sector problems and a government change following a failed referendum on constitutional reform.