Falling Oil Prices and Mounting Apprehensions from Asia Cast Dark Cloud Over the Global Economic Outlook

The global economic outlook has been worrisome since the markets opened for trading this year and it doesn’t look as if there would be an improvement any time soon. The global economic outlook has been particularly bleak as energy prices continue to fall. More so, the weakness in the Asian markets as spearheaded by Chinese economic woes doesn’t provide investors with bright hopes for the future.

U.S. markets are mixed this morning but the situation looks very dreary in Asia and Europe as the major market indices are in the red. On Monday, U.S. equities faced strong headwinds on the weakened global outlook; for instance, the S&P 500 was down 2.09%, Dow Jones was down 2.13%, and NASDAQ Composite was down 2.52%.  This piece seeks to explore how the weakness in global equities is likely to continue because of weakness in Asian markets and because of the prolonged drop in crude oil prices.

Asian markets cast doom and gloom on the global economic outlook

When China sneezes, the rest of Asia catches cold and this is evident in the weakness being experienced across board in Asia. This morning, China’s Shanghai was down 0.63%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down a massive 5.40%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was slightly up with 0.23% gains. Growing concerns about Chinese economic woes have forcing global investors to have a rethink about putting their money in Asia.

China has been facing the hydra-headed problems of excessive debt, overcapacity, slow economic growth and possibly the largest real estate bubble in the world. The problems in Asia also took a turn for the worse on the heels of problems in Japan as Japanese bonds dropped below zero for the first time. The adoption of negative interest rates by the Bank of Japan contrasts sharply with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates.

Moro so, the negative rates in Japan suggests that monetary policy in the Asia has reached its peak. The turmoil being faced by Asian stocks is having a ripple effect in the Forex markets as the Japanese Yen climbed to a 15-month peak.  Global investors might want to see how currency headwinds might affect their investments going forward and 10trade is a good starting point for forex beginners.

Lorne Baring, managing director of B Capital Wealth Management provides insight into how weakness in equities paints for gloomy picture for stocks.  In his words, “there is a high probability of a further correction in equity prices, led by banking and energy stocks. There could be a wave of defaults in the energy sector and that will damage the balance sheet of the banking sector”. He opines that slowing global growth doesn’t make the outlook particularly bright. He says, “We are advising our investors to drastically reduce risk and build protection.”

Oil could crash another 20% this year

The sustained weakness in oil prices have been one of the major issues casting dark shadows over the global economic outlook. However, it does appear that the global economic scene won’t see a change from the current supply and demand dynamics on oil prices.  This morning, the International Energy Agency (iea) released its Oil Market Report for February and the report doesn’t seem to provide much reason to be optimistic.

To start with, IEA expects crude oil supply to beat the demand by 2 million barrels per day in Q1 2016 and that the demand will continue to exceed supply by 1.5 million barrels per day in Q2 2016. It is a common knowledge in basic economics that a market dynamic in which the supply is higher than the demand will always lead to lower prices for the commodity. More so, the IEA expects the global demand for oil to slow down to 1.2 million barrels per day on the heels of a drop in a demand from U.S., Europe, and China.

Another problem that would weaken the global energy outlook further is the geopolitical tensions between OPEC and non-OPEC countries on the one hand and between Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran on the other hand. The possibilities of an agreement to cut crude oil supply by OPEC and non-OPEC producers remain slim as the fight for market share continues in a bid to raise more revenue from crude oil. In fact, OPEC has increased its production by 280,000 barrels per day in January to 32.63 million barrels per day. If oil-producing countries agree to halt production, the outlook for oil will improve; however, the tensions between OPEC and non-OPEC nations make such an agreement practically impossible.

The Ideal Forex Trading Platform

A forex trader needs to know that all trading platforms are not alike.  There are numerous factors which make up a trading platform and it usually begins with the forex broker that you are working with that provides you the best platform on the street.  When working with a forex broker some of the items that the forex trader should keep in mind prior to trading forex or any other financial vehicle is; what strategic tools does the forex broker offer you when trading, what is the customer service solutions that are associated to the trading platform, what types of financial vehicles can I trade regularly over the trading platform and what type of technology does the forex broker have to increase my user experience.

The financial tools which the forex broker provides with their trading platform are very important as it relates to your forex trading success.  The forex trader should be certain that the forex broker has trading signals associated to their trading platform which will allow the forex trader to take advantage of years of knowledge and experience obtained from expert traders and analytics.   Video tutorials are also an important aspect of a forex broker’s platform which will allow the forex trader to educate themselves to becoming a successful forex trader.  Forex calculators allow the forex trader to calculate comprehensive statistics on their trades.   A forex trader should be certain that the trading platform has strong technical analysis tools.  Some technical analysis tools would be Moving Averages, Bollinger Bands, Relative Strength Index, Stochastic Oscillators and Fibonacci Retracements to name a few.   Fundamental analysis tools are also very important when utilizing a trading platform.  The forex broker should have a strong financial calculator which allows the forex broker to follow items such as economic indicators.  Without the ability to track items such as Gross Domestic Product, Producer Price Index, Consumer Price Index etc. the forex broker will miss out on trading opportunities.

When utilizing a forex brokers services the forex trader much understand that customer service in this fast paced environment will invariably cost him/her money unless the forex broker has a strong customer service track record.  When searching for a forex broker the forex trader should be concerned with items such as how do they communicate with the their broker when necessary.  Many of the better forex brokers on the street offer numerous forms of communicate from telephone, chat, fax and e-mail.  In addition, the better forex brokers on the street will also offer one on one training with their customer base.

There are numerous financial products that can be traded though forex brokers.  It is the responsibility of the forex trader to find out what these products are that they are able to trade.  Today, many forex brokers allow their traders to place trades with forex, Contracts for Difference (CFDs), commodities, indices as well as securities.  The forex trader should be confident that if they are interested in diversify their portfolio this is an option.

The technology utilized by the forex broker for their platform is paramount.  A forex trader not only wants to know that the trades that they are placing are secure but they are also encrypted.  In addition, the forex trader should research to determine the options they have when utilizing what devices they can use when working with the forex broker.  The more advanced brokers on the street allow their clients to not only trade through software on their desktop or laptop but also allow them to leverage trading through the internet along with trading over mobile.

In closing, there are numerous forex brokers presently offering their forex trading platforms to their clients.  The forex trader should research which offer the greatest bang for their buck and offer them the proper tools and support to enhance their trading experience.

Getting Organised: Making Loan Repayments More Manageable

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Taking out any kind of loan can be a necessity at times. Many people will get a mortgage when buying their first home, especially with the housing market’s price boom, or borrow money when they need a new car, have to make home repairs or for all manner of reasons.

While it can be a potential lifesaver at the time, when it comes to paying the amount back you can often wonder if it was worth it. Thankfully there are a range of methods you can use to make your loan repayments a lot more manageable.

Debt Consolidation Loan

One option for tackling any outstanding debt is to put it all in one place with a debt consolidation loan. Loan repayments, credit and store card debt can all be put in one place which makes working out your weekly repayments simple. It creates a more manageable single repayment, often over a longer period of time which can make it more affordable as well.

Super Balance Transfers

Certain credit cards offer super balance transfers which allow you to transfer money directly into your bank account at a low or even zero percent interest rate. This can then be used to make loan repayments without the added interest incurred elsewhere. However, sometimes these do still come with a fee so you will need to work out if it is more cost-effective or not. Be disciplined to make repayments so you don’t increase debt.

Reclaim PPI

It may seem like a long shot but depending on the type of loan you’re making repayments on and when it was taken out, you may be able to claim back payment protection insurance (PPI) if it was mis-sold. This would certainly make repayments more manageable as what you reclaim could go towards paying off the loan as well as making the payments significantly smaller.

Make Early Repayments

If you’re lucky enough to have received a bonus or pay increase at work recently and are still paying off loans, making early repayments could be a good use of this extra money. Many allow you to make extra repayments which go towards paying off the loan sooner, which reduces the amount of interest paid and therefore the total amount. Some even allow you to pay off the whole thing in one go, but only if you’re in a good position to afford it.