Market Update - February 2019

After a dismal end to 2018, risk appetite resurfaced in January - thanks to an increasingly conciliatory tone from global central banks, solid corporate earnings results, and some tentative signs of progress on the US-China trade front. Notably, financial markets embraced the Federal Reserve’s pivot away from its tightening bias, with policymakers signaling a near-term pause in rate hikes – while similarly cautious undertones from the likes of the European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, and People’s Bank of China also lent support. Moreover, high-level trade discussions between the US and China ended on an optimistic note - though stopped short of a breakthrough that would end the conflict ahead of the March deadline for avoiding further escalation in the trade war.