A New Year, a New Europe
The ECB decision to keep interest rate unchanged underlines the great improvement in the Eurozone both in terms of Government and banks financing.
With good results from the Spanish auction and the Italian financing costs at the lowest in 3 years we now see confidence getting back to Europe. This will make 2013 a year of slow but firm European recovery.
Given the overall financing improvement the announced OMT, that was certainly very important to reach this point, will probably not even need to be deployed. This is pretty much what investor wants: to know that the ECB will be ready to intervene if needed and ensure a lower fragmentation among the various European Economies.
Financing for banks (e.g. through the recent issues Intesa and Banco Bilbao) has also considerably improved.
Throughout 2012 I maintain a positive outlook for Europe and I can only reaffirm this for 2013.
Despite the great financial improvements several challengers remains: while Draghi pointed out that full employment is not within the ECB mandates the high unemployment in some European economies (especially youth unemployment) remains a big challenge for some European economies. We have also not yet seen a full improvement in lending which limits the potential of new investments, job creation and consequentially growth.
What European Governments needs to do is implement a set of measures to reduce unemployment and boast growth: a real challenge if combined with austerity !
With interest rates at record lows and an increase of money supply equities remain among the most interesting asset classes for 2013. In terms of regional focus European companies with exposure and growth in emerging or higher growth markets remain attractive.
I would still recommend some allocation to Gold as a hedge toward the increasing money supply.
– Europe will have a slow but firm improvement in 2013
– Lending conditions should improve and support the European recovery
– European-based companies with exposure to higher growth economies are still a good investment opportunity for 2013
– Gold remains interesting as an hedge but volatility is to be expected