Holding out for a Santa rally

Alison Steed

Alison Steed

Time will tell what will actually happen, but there is talk of a second referendum and also possibly a general election. We will just have to wait and see.

So, if Santa could bring something of a rally to markets over the Christmas period, and sort out the Brexit conundrum to everyone’s satisfaction, that would be a fabulous present to receive.

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While the Santa rally is recognised as a real phenomenon in the markets, with a surge often seen from the beginning of December to the end of the year, whether we see one this year is largely in the hands of Mr Trump and the US Federal Reserve.

A change in the president’s trade policy would probably elicit one, but that is unlikely, although Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires last week, so we may yet see a change of heart. But I suggest you do not hold your breath.

Cost of Christmas

Of course, it is not just at the macroeconomic level that we think about finances at Christmas, we need to consider the microeconomic level. For example, the average spend for each of us on Christmas is expected to be £719, according to figures from GoCompare, with presents for family and friends costing £365 alone.

More than half say they can foot this bill from their income, while 10 per cent will be using a credit card to fund the spend they cannot afford to meet from their salaries alone, and that simply increases the cost.

By January, the Christmas debt hangover will kick in, and while 43 per cent of people using a credit card for Christmas expect to have paid off the bill within the month, the average time to pay it off is expected to be 2.6 months.

By the time we reach Easter, most people will be free from their Christmas spending. However, even though you cannot control the macroeconomic picture, dealing with your micro one will help to stay in the black this year, and keeping your spending in check is likely to be a good idea given the level of economic uncertainty we all face. Merry Christmas.

Alison Steed is a freelance journalist