In more ways than one, 2023 was a bit of a let-down and has been typical of the ‘Turbulent Twenties’ so far.

Politically, geopolitically, economically we have seen a lot of flux. Inflation left consumers with fewer pounds in pockets and rising interest rates made mortgages and other household debt more expensive.

But the worst economic outcomes were avoided and the expected global recession did not materialise.

For investors, undisputedly we are in a better place now than we were at the top of the year – 2022 was exceedingly tricky, when both bonds and equities went into freefall – and we have seen a general improvement over the year (that wasn’t difficult when you consider the starting point).

But the recovery has been lacklustre, and the ongoing volatility means we still haven’t found convincing answers to some of the questions facing global investors at the start of this year.

With this complicated backdrop in mind, what are the big factors that will be shaping investor sentiment in 2024?

Economic turbulence

The world continues to be a complicated place and the ‘turbulent twenties’ remains an apt moniker. The US economy is likely to slow further as 2023 rate hikes continue to bite and consumer demand weakens.

The big question on everyone’s lips will be ‘can the US avoid a recession?’

China should start to improve as the government is moving more decisively to stimulate the economy – a failure to reflate would cause problems.

We think a global recession will be avoided but we will see a continuation of low, but positive real growth.

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