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The year that was: a geopolitical soap opera

Made headlines around the world

As 2017 draws to its end, Nest Egg looks back on the stories, the moments and the economic and cultural discussions that epitomised this year. Today, we look at some of the geopolitical events that made headlines around the world. 

To be honest, I’m exhausted just thinking about the rollercoaster that 2017 was. Remarkably, it wasn’t a hugely volatile year for markets. 

But, in geopolitics it was a different story. We saw growing tensions between North Korea and the US blossom into threats of “fire and fury”. (Yeesh)

That means my colleague, Killian Plastow has Kim Jong-un to thank for the honour of 2017's most-read story

According to AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver, there are three potential scenarios, resolution, brief conflict or a sustained conflict and all would have different implications for the share market.

Shane Oliver was back at his predictions in October, arguing that while there may be a “cloud of Spanish assets” due to secession attempts by the Catalan province, it was no Brexit. 

Noting that most of the talk around the referendum had centred on the efforts by the Spanish government to stop it going ahead, the ensuing violence and the result, Mr Oliver said the unrest is “obviously going to be an ongoing issue”.

However, he added: “Does it cause a major problem for the Eurozone and therefore for global investment markets? I don’t think so. Quite simply, the Catalonians have an issue with the rest of Spain more broadly; they don’t have an issue with the rest of Europe or the Eurozone. They don’t want to leave the Euro, in other words.”

As for the B word, guest blogger Peter Wilmhurst said Brexit negotiations in 2017 steered investors towards Eurozone equity funds as a means of gaining exposure to the “dynamic region”. 

According to Deutsche Bank strategists, the next global financial crisis could actually be triggered by Brexit. Or it could be Japanese debt. Or the rise of populist politicians and policies. Or maybe a property market bubble in China? Or a lack of financial market liquidity.

Really, it could come from anywhere, it seems.

On that note, here’s to the new year!

The year that was: a geopolitical soap opera
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