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    Italy, a cradle of European civilisation, is for a number of reasons attracting our attention as an opportunity-seeking investor.
    Geneva, 9 October 2015 – Created in 2012, the Crédit Agricole Suisse foundation is celebrating its third anniversary. Each year, it organises a volunteer programme with organisations in Switzerland and offers financial support to NGOs active in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Lebanon. This anniversary is an opportunity to take stock of the actions taken to date and the future prospects.
    Over and above its usual idiosyncrasies, the world economy is posting modest growth, low inflation that is set to rise and historically low interest rates. It seems a good time to try and pinpoint the likely direction of short-term interest rates, and via their relationship with inflation, of long-term interest rates as well.
    Seules des réformes structurelles pourraient résoudre l’absence de dynamisme de l’économie. Dilma Rousseff a peu de chance de les réaliser.
    In a generalised market correction that looks over-done compared to macro-economic fundamentals, Brazil has suffered more than many others. While we find that Brazil's political muscle is feeble at the best of times, and largely annihilated under President Rousseff and the Petrobras scandal, we nevertheless feel the need to remind investors that Brazil is the world's 7th largest economy, ahead of France in 8th place. There is more to Brazil than commodities and corruption, and the country does not merit having its 10-year sovereign debt priced at the same levels as that of Nigeria. There are currently short-term tactical buys to be identified, although we maintain a negative outlook for the longer term.
    After a pronounced downwards cycle in central bank key rates and, hence, the entire structure of long-term interest rates, we feel that the limit has been reached globally in developed economies. Even if the yields on some long-term instruments have dipped into negative territory, the mini bond market crash in the USA and Europe in first-half 2015 confirms that the rate cycle has run out of momentum.
    We are in the middle of a paradigm shift. It is a major re-assessment of how we think about concepts such as value, utility, costs, benefits, life satisfaction and happiness. What is happening at this very moment is the emergence of a totally new way of thinking. This does not happen very often. Actually, for the past 100 years economic thought has been dominated by Neo-classical economic theory. The end to that era is bringing with it some significant changes to how we understand economics and business, and therefore also to how we do business, and to how we invest.
    Hostage to the news headlines as the story unfolds, we nevertheless provide an update on the Greek situation and the issues faced by the creditors in the wake of yesterday's missed payment. We continue to believe that a solution will be found that allows Greece to remain within the European Monetary Union.
    After the US Q1 GDP results, we take a look at the economic surprises and compare the US with the Euro Zone. The comparison was strongly in favour of the Euro Zone in March this year, and it has since narrowed markedly. However, it is not shrinking as fast as we previously anticipated and the Euro Zone still conserves the upper hand at this point in time. The second half of the year ought to produce an advantage for the US.
    Despite increasingly divergent monetary policies, including the ECB’s quantitative easing and the US central bank’s key rate hike, almost all the hard-currency bond market segments have generated positive total performances since the start of the year, a notable exception being Greece.
    Jean-Yves Hocher, Crédit Agricole’ Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Head of Corporate and Investment Banking and Private Banking was interviewed by the journalists of the Swiss daily Le Temps (published 12 June 2015).
    Some equity markets were marked by profit-taking at the end of the first quarter, while the oil price more or less returned to its end-February levels. Both the update of our allocation model and that of our total return estimations obviously require us to look beyond these day-to-day fluctuations.
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