The Australian Federal election has delivered a messy result suggesting an even more difficult Senate for the Coalition if it is able to form government and the risk of return to minority government.
The risk is that we will see a further slippage in the budget outlook – with a downgrade in Australia’s AAA sovereign rating looking increasingly likely – and that significant economic reform will remain off the agenda. This is dampener for long term economic growth and share market returns.
That said, it’s not a disaster as the period of true minority government over 2010-13 saw the economy continue to grow and it’s not unusual for Australian governments to face a difficult Senate.
2015 has been a messy year for investors as worries about China, emerging countries and the Fed caused volatility and uneven returns across asset classes. Australian shares continued to underperform.
2016 is likely to see continued okay but uneven global growth, low inflation & easy monetary conditions. While the US is likely to raise rates gradually, other countries including Australia remain biased to further easing.
Most growth assets, including shares are likely to trend higher, resulting in reasonable returns. But volatility is likely to remain high as the easy gains are well and truly behind us.
The main things to keep an eye on are the Fed, China and the ongoing rebalancing of the Australian economy.
Risks regarding China and the Fed may be receding a bit for now but there remains plenty to keep an eye on including the risk of an “accident” flowing from slower emerging market growth and the plunge in commodities.
However, our broad assessment remains that the cyclical bull market in shares is likely to reassert itself in the seasonally strong months into year end.