After a somewhat tumultuous year for international politics, 2016 has finally come to a close. The turbulent political landscape has made financial markets cautious and uncertainty seemed to be the overriding feeling among most world economies.
But there are signs that 2017 is looking more optimistic: The Conference Board’s Global Economic Outlook for 2017 has suggested that certain indicators such as advanced technology, better productivity and better skill-sets for labour forces demonstrate that we are on the steady climb towards healthy growth. The International Monetary Fund also predicts the start of a slow upswing in global growth next year, from 3.1% (in 2016) to 3.4% – this may seem minimal on the surface, but is actually encouraging given the current perception of global politics.
With that in mind, it’s time to start thinking about where to put your money in the year ahead. Recent confusion and volatility in both the geopolitical and economic landscapes may make 2017 seem like a confusing picture, but there are still opportunities out there for smart investments to pay dividends. Below you will find a few examples:
2016’s obvious political changes mean that developed countries may no longer be the safest places for your money.
Investment in Asian countries such as China and South Korea may also be a good bet. Bloomberg recently suggested looking at companies in these nations that are currently in the process of cost-cutting and improving efficiency in the wake of current shifts in the financial climate, for example the large mobile phone institutions. Bearing in mind that the US’s GDP outlook is standing at just 1.6%, it may well be the time to look at other parts of the globe for new investments.
In a time of change for a range of governments, Washington, D.C.-based business forecasters Kiplinger suggest that stocks are a better option than bonds in 2017. The recent Brexit and Trump presidency may not just spell doom and gloom, but in fact provide new opportunities for the smart investor. It might be a profitable idea to look at purchasing stock in areas of the market that will benefit from these shifts in the political makeup of the world – Trump, for example, has voiced his dedication to improving America’s transport infrastructure, so US enterprises associated with the development of transportation might be worth a look.
In times of economic uncertainty, real estate always provides a safer option for investors looking to hedge against potential market volatility. The property sector is currently looking healthy: Kiplinger predicts an 11% rise in the construction of single-family homes in 2017, while the commercial side of real estate will see a 5% increase in new commercial projects. 2016 was a good year for real estate investment, with over half of professional investors looking to increase their allocations towards property throughout the year (according to the Colliers Global Investor Outlook 2016); 2017 is shaping up to be much the same, with real estate acting as a useful shelter against recent outside influences that are affecting the market.
Real estate’s growth will likely be helped by new technology (remember the emphasis on better tech mentioned above as an important part of The Conference Board’s Global Economic Outlook for 2017). Real estate crowdfunding sites such as Bricksave are streamlining the real estate investment process and opening it up to more people; this will help bring in a new wave of investors to the property market, therefore injecting it with new life and new opportunities. Platforms like Bricksave have the added bonus of being new technologies that are at the start of their potential climb to prominence – the crowdfunding industry as a whole grew dramatically between 2014 and 2015, more than doubling in size from $16.2 billion to $34.4 billion, and the equity branch of crowdfunding is doubtless going to parallel this increase.
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