Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte waits for the arrival of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Chigi Palace, in Rome, Monday, June 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has hinted at fiscal spending that would impact the country’s deficit and elevated debt levels, but volatility is expected in the country for some time. Gregorio Borgia Show more

Volatility and risk could persist in Europe for some time



The focus for many at the moment is European politics. Italy, Spain and trade tensions between the United States and the European Union are at the forefront of investors’ minds. European equities are down about 3 per cent since their May highs.

On the economic front, latest Europe Purchasing Manager's Indexes have come in soft, in fact, even if in line with estimates they were down from April levels (54.1 versus 55.1), although Germany saw positive revisions and the Spanish composite PMI at 55.9 was higher than in April and above consensus.

The Italian PMI beat expectations and was flat versus April, a good reading considering the political uncertainty. Retail sales in the eurozone were up only 0.1 per cent in April and below the consensus (0.5 per cent), though the March number was revised upwards by 0.3 per cent. Latest German and French Industrial Production fell significantly versus both expectations for rises as well as positive numbers for last month.

This year, there has been $10.6 billion in outflows from European equity exchange-traded funds, according to Bloomberg, as investors have reacted to uncertainty in the region. German and Italian ETFs saw the greatest redemptions.

The situation in Italy has been evolving daily over the past few weeks. Markets reacted to the uncertain situation with two and 10-year BTP government bond yields spiking to 2.78 per cent and 3.16 per cent respectively. Now, two-year yields have come back to lower levels though are still very elevated considering they had been negative until mid-May.

Equity markets were also affected as the Italian market had, unexplainably in our view, been the best performing market in Europe until it gave back all its gain during government formation talks. The euro also felt the brunt of the situation touching a low of 1.15 versus the dollar. The move in Italian yields has been extremely large and while one could debate at length what the fair value of Italian bonds should be - and that perhaps a negative two-year yield was not fair value - the broader mis-pricing of European sovereign yields is a wider issue affecting the whole European government bond market, which has been suppressed by years of quantitative easing and a negative deposit rate.

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The government in Italy has now been formed, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has already hinted at fiscal spending that would have a large effect on the country's deficit and elevated debt levels. The situation in Italy will likely continue to cause volatility for some time but there seems a very low likelihood of an exit from the eurozone as the freshly appointed Finance Minister, Giovanni Tria, has explicitly stated.

While it would be auspicious to have greater dialogue among European leaders and institutions to accommodate the very different situations in which member states are in, an exit from the EU or its currency would have drastic consequences. Recent polls still show that the majority of Italians are in favour of the euro membership. The population would not willingly be able to tolerate years of disastrous economic conditions following an exit from the euro.

While the populist parties that formed a government seem to have tempered their rhetoric on exiting the euro, some of the fiscal proposals floated would result in a massive budget increase - which would break EU rules on fiscal deficit. Though, over time these parties have changed their rhetoric often and quite significantly, so it’s very difficult to speculate on what policies they would enact and on the certainty and timing with which these could be able to pass approval. Some measures, if thoughtfully structured in a less budget costly way, would be positive, among these for example the restructuring of the Italian multi-layered tax system which results in an extremely high level of taxes for individuals.

While Italians displeased with the economic situation and political parties now at the helm of the government put most of the fault on Europe, Italy’s problems go far beyond that. Italy should start focusing on its long-standing issues: poor productivity, low competitiveness with one of the lowest rankings in Europe for ease of doing business, an intricate bureaucracy, high tax evasion, an inefficient public sector which could benefit from some privatisation, a complex tax system, a stale labour market and an extremely high level of government debt and NPLs. Realistically tackling these problems would enable Italy to grow strongly again. While the list seems long, as Italy has the ability to face these difficulties, it just needs a strong willingness for change instead of just for protest.

In Spain, after Mariano Rajoy lost a no-confidence vote, Pedro Sanchez, leader of the Socialist Party, took over as prime minister. While the reforms announced by the populist party do not appear business or euro friendly and could bring short- to medium- term volatility, markets in Spain seem to have not priced this in significantly. On the economic front though Spain has a more solid foundation than Italy and in fact has seen much better growth.

Finally, trade tensions between the US and China as well as other regions, such as Europe, are also negatively affecting economic sentiment.

At the end of the last week, talks from European Central Bank members on tightening monetary policy, contracting German and French IP data, Donald Trump’s exploits at the G7 forum and contagion from emerging market equities all contributed to a selloff in developed markets, the most of which was seen in Europe with Italy and Spain the worst performing markets.

Given all of the above, volatility and risk could persist in Europe for some time. We prefer to take a cautious stance and are currently avoiding direct positions in European equities (outside of Switzerland). We are finding better value elsewhere as we see better upside and visibility in US equities alongside some more idiosyncratic opportunities.

Ilaria Calabresi is a vice president at JP Morgan Private Bank

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

Keep it fun and engaging

Stuart Ritchie, director of wealth advice at AES International, says children cannot learn something overnight, so it helps to have a fun routine that keeps them engaged and interested.

“I explain to my daughter that the money I draw from an ATM or the money on my bank card doesn’t just magically appear – it’s money I have earned from my job. I show her how this works by giving her little chores around the house so she can earn pocket money,” says Mr Ritchie.

His daughter is allowed to spend half of her pocket money, while the other half goes into a bank account. When this money hits a certain milestone, Mr Ritchie rewards his daughter with a small lump sum.

He also recommends books that teach the importance of money management for children, such as The Squirrel Manifesto by Ric Edelman and Jean Edelman.

Where to submit a sample

Volunteers of all ages can submit DNA samples at centres across Abu Dhabi, including: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre+(Adnec), Biogenix Labs in Masdar City, NMC Royal Hospital in Khalifa City, NMC Royal Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi, NMC Royal Women's Hospital, Bareen International Hospital, Al Towayya in Al Ain, NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain

Dates for the diary

To mark Bodytree’s 10th anniversary, the coming season will be filled with celebratory activities:

  • September 21 Anyone interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor can sign up for a 250-hour course in Yoga Teacher Training with Jacquelene Sadek. It begins on September 21 and will take place over the course of six weekends.
  • October 18 to 21 International yoga instructor, Yogi Nora, will be visiting Bodytree and offering classes.
  • October 26 to November 4 International pilates instructor Courtney Miller will be on hand at the studio, offering classes.
  • November 9 Bodytree is hosting a party to celebrate turning 10, and everyone is invited. Expect a day full of free classes on the grounds of the studio.
  • December 11 Yogeswari, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher, will be visiting the studio.
  • February 2, 2018 Bodytree will host its 4th annual yoga market.

The British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience

by David Gilmour

Allen Lane

SHAITTAN

Director: Vikas Bahl
Starring: Ajay Devgn, R. Madhavan, Jyothika, Janaki Bodiwala
Rating: 3/5

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Other simple ideas for sushi rice dishes

Cheat’s nigiri 
This is easier to make than sushi rolls. With damp hands, form the cooled rice into small tablet shapes. Place slices of fresh, raw salmon, mackerel or trout (or smoked salmon) lightly touched with wasabi, then press, wasabi side-down, onto the rice. Serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger.

Easy omurice
This fusion dish combines Asian fried rice with a western omelette. To make, fry cooked and cooled sushi rice with chopped vegetables such as carrot and onion and lashings of sweet-tangy ketchup, then wrap in a soft egg omelette.

Deconstructed sushi salad platter 
This makes a great, fuss-free sharing meal. Arrange sushi rice on a platter or board, then fill the space with all your favourite sushi ingredients (edamame beans, cooked prawns or tuna, tempura veggies, pickled ginger and chilli tofu), with a dressing or dipping sauce on the side.

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Could We Be More

Artist: Kokoroko
Label: Brownswood Recordings
Rating: 3.5/5

The Woman King

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Stars: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega 

Rating: 3/5

'Top Gun: Maverick'

Rating: 4/5

Directed by: Joseph Kosinski

Starring: Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Ed Harris

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

The specs: 2024 Mercedes E200

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo + mild hybrid
Power: 204hp at 5,800rpm +23hp hybrid boost
Torque: 320Nm at 1,800rpm +205Nm hybrid boost
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km
On sale: November/December
Price: From Dh205,000 (estimate)

Monster

Directed by: Anthony Mandler

Starring: Kelvin Harrison Jr., John David Washington 

3/5

 

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

How it works

Each player begins with one of the great empires of history, from Julius Caesar's Rome to Ramses of Egypt, spread over Europe and the Middle East.

Round by round, the player expands their empire. The more land they have, the more money they can take from their coffers for each go.

As unruled land and soldiers are acquired, players must feed them. When a player comes up against land held by another army, they can choose to battle for supremacy.

A dice-based battle system is used and players can get the edge on their enemy with by deploying a renowned hero on the battlefield.

Players that lose battles and land will find their coffers dwindle and troops go hungry. The end goal? Global domination of course.

The specs: Macan Turbo

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 639hp
Torque: 1,130Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Touring range: 591km
Price: From Dh412,500
On sale: Deliveries start in October

Mobile phone packages comparison

 

 

if you go

The flights

Air Astana flies direct from Dubai to Almaty from Dh2,440 per person return, and to Astana (via Almaty) from Dh2,930 return, both including taxes.

The hotels

Rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Almaty cost from Dh1,944 per night including taxes; and in Astana the new Ritz-Carlton Astana (www.marriott) costs from Dh1,325; alternatively, the new St Regis Astana costs from Dh1,458 per night including taxes.

When to visit

March-May and September-November

Visas

Citizens of many countries, including the UAE do not need a visa to enter Kazakhstan for up to 30 days. Contact the nearest Kazakhstan embassy or consulate.

Awar Qalb

Director: Jamal Salem

Starring: Abdulla Zaid, Joma Ali, Neven Madi and Khadija Sleiman

Two stars

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier

UAE results
Ireland beat UAE by six wickets
Zimbabwe beat UAE by eight wickets
UAE beat Netherlands by 10 wickets

Fixtures
UAE v Vanuatu, Thursday, 3pm, Zayed Cricket Stadium
Ireland v Netherlands, 7.30pm, Zayed Cricket Stadium

Group B table
1) Ireland 3 3 0 6 +2.407
2. Netherlands 3 2 1 4 +1.117
3) UAE 3 1 2 2 0.000
4) Zimbabwe 4 1 3 2 -0.844
5) Vanuatu 3 1 2 2 -2.180


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