2024 - The Biggest Election Year in History 

In 2024, seven of the ten most populous countries in the world head to the polls. Roughly 49% of the world’s population (4 billion people) in 64 countries (plus the European Union) are holding presidential/ general elections to pick their governments. This has never been seen before in a single year. January sees Bangladesh and Taiwan voting with the Ghanaian vote ending the year in December.

Some are foregone conclusions, i.e., Bangladesh and Pakistan, where others may be tightly contested with the outcome paving what could be years of good fortunes or continued maladministration.

Some of the major economically important countries will have an unpredictable vote and this brings concerns for investors and with it the potential for market volatility.

US elections will be felt across the globe.

Perhaps one of the most important is the Trump-Biden showdown as Nikki Haley’s race is starting to fall to the wayside. The questions that a Trump win raises are important and cannot be overlooked.

The macroeconomic outcome of a Trump victory in the 2024 election would depend on a variety of factors, including his policy priorities, the state of the economy at the time of his re-election, and the broader global economic environment. Looking back on his previous presidency and policy stances, a few important matters stand above the rest:

  • Tax and Regulatory Policies: Lower taxes and deregulation.
  • Trade Policies: America first protectionist measures such as tariffs and trade restrictions.
  • Fiscal Policy: Government spending and deficits has been expansionary in the past.
  • Monetary Policy: The Federal Reserve's monetary policy is largely independent of the president, but Trump has been critical of the Fed's policies in the past.
  • Infrastructure Spending: Trump has expressed support for infrastructure spending.

A Trump win could usher in an approach of America first and one of isolation which would undo years of global integration and growth, this would in turn slow the global economy and affect global growth.

The Russia/Ukraine conflict reached its two-year anniversary, and if Trump were to recall the US’s support of Ukraine this could lead to other nations pursuing their own conflicts e.g., China and Taiwan, and put global security on tenterhooks.

Overall, a Trump victory in the 2024 election could lead to a mix of positive and negative macroeconomic outcomes, depending on the specific policies implemented and the broader economic context.

UK and Europe

UK growth remains front and center and irrespective of which party wins, it will have a challenging task at hand to bring reforms needed to rekindle growth.

Europe - EU citizens will participate in elections in June to choose their representatives in the European Parliament (EP) – the only directly elected transnational assembly globally. These elections take place across all 27 EU member countries.

Some of the key issues in this cycle include climate policies, immigration laws, security, and defense, especially amid the multiple conflicts plaguing the world. How the EU will tackle populism remains to be seen.

South Africa

The election machine is warming up and with recent manifesto launches the same promises of tackling inequality, corruption, service delivery, unemployment and failing infrastructure. Research is coming in from various surveys and the results do vary quite substantially. The question of whether the ANC will retain its majority remains front and centre. Global investors are watching us closely.

The prospect of coalitions will come up should the ANC fail in retaining a majority. Should an ANC/EFF coalition happen this would be deemed to be disastrous and will pose risk for the Rand and market.

Navigating the political noise

Some election results will be unpredictable and geopolitical risk will remain. Markets tend to look through the noise and focus on some of the fundamentals such as the interest rates and predictions of when those will be cut, corporate earnings and how they measure against consensus forecasts.

Research shows that elections have little effect on investment markets and overall macroeconomic views and markets tend to rally 12 months post elections.

Our client portfolios are appropriately positioned in line with this approach, and we continue to be long-term investors.