Milestone AMG has been regarded by its peers as one of the best Independent Financial Advisory firms consistently providing the latest and most profitable financial solutions to today’s investors. We believe that even though the markets change on a daily basis, the principles for investing always remain constant. Our investment research is not just based on the major indexes. When we look for new and exciting opportunities we will search all indices for the right recommendations. Today we look at Scandinavia (also referred to as the ‘Nordic’ region) as we research the four countries that make up the region: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
THE NORDIC ECONOMY
Economic Growth The regional economy grew by a healthy 2.5% in2011, but lost momentum towards the end of the year. Growth is expected to slow down in 2012, but contraction is not anticipated for any of the Nordic countries. GDP is forecasted to rebound to some 2% in 2013. Public finances remain relatively well contained and all maintained triple-A ratings on government debt. With the current European crisis in full motion, the Nordic economies offer an alternative to the major European markets.
Interest Rates Long term interest rates remained low across the region in the first quarter of 2012. Yields on 10-year government bonds were below inflation in Denmark, Norway and Sweden again proving the region’s economic strength.
Employment Overall employment increased by 1.2% in 2011, but is expected to slow down to only 0.2% this year. Most new jobs are seen to be created in Norway, which will continue to churn out more jobs in 2012. Considering the situation in most of mainland Europe with increasing unemployment, this buck against the trend is welcome.
Retail Sector The retail sector fundamentals have generally been good in the Nordic countries thanks to healthy growth in private spending. This trend is expected to continue throughout 2012, with the exception of Denmark where the awaited recovery has not materialized just yet. Increased consumer spending is always a sign of confidence within the economy and can only be seen as a positive reflection of how the current sentient within these specific countries is viewed.
Industrial Production Industrial production has lost some momentum in recent months. Still, production is seen to have grown slightly (year on year) in 3 out of four countries. Again this separates the Scandinavian economies from the rest of Europe and we expect this to continue through the rest of 2012.
We believe by taking a diverse look at our clients’ assets we can protect them against the most volatile situations presented in today’s current markets. As always, asset allocation is the key to a healthy and productive portfolio.