Investment Insights Q2 2023

We’ve certainly had a difficult start to the year, but what is the investment outlook as we look forward to sunnier days ahead? Our latest Investment Insights considers some of the key themes – such as expectations versus reality for US company profits and the search for inflation protection. 

12 April 2023

With Spring just around the corner, could markets be in for a brighter period after a difficult start to the year? Our lead article looks at the outlook for US company profits against a backdrop of rising interest rates and slowing economic growth. Even before the latest turmoil in the banking system, we thought a US recession looked more likely than not in 2023. We explore what this means for our exposure to US equities.

Our next article on page 5 examines the short-term attraction of inflation-linked bonds. Rising yields mean the value of conventional government bonds is falling. We explain why we are wary of longer-dated linkers compared with their shorter-dated counterparts. 

Electric vehicle and battery manufacturers are expected to be major consumers of critical minerals. Will there be enough mineral supply to enable companies and countries to deliver on commitments to phase out the production of internal combustion engines? Read more on page 6, where we also ask if the minerals can be mined ethically. 

We explore China’s long-term economic growth prospects in the next feature on page 8. We’re already well over a decade into a structural slowdown in China’s economy. What are the headwinds facing the country and the challenges that lie ahead for labour, capital and productivity?

The final article explores the vital role businesses and investors can play in eradicating modern slavery. Despite the UK’s landmark 2015 Modern Slavery Act, there is no legal redress in law for companies that fail to comply. Rathbones convened an investor collaboration called Votes Against Slavery to address this gap in the law via direct action from investors. Read more about this on page 9.

We hope you and your family are well and looking forward to sunnier days ahead. Find out more about our latest views on issues affecting the global economy and investments here.

Liz Savage and Ed Smith 
Co-chief investment officers

Read the latest InvestmentInsights, Q2 2023