2nd April 2024

If elections have consequences, as Barack Obama said, then 2024 looks like being a highly consequential year. Some 64 countries are due to hold elections this year (including the US, India, Brazil, Russia and very probably the UK), representing over half of the global population and, in economic terms, half of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). 

Depending on the outcomes, some of these elections carry significant global implications, influencing not only the geopolitical landscape but also impacting global and regional investment markets. So, how could this year’s elections affect the investment landscape and, by extension, your portfolio? 

What are the investment implications?  

Election years are typically marked by increased uncertainty and speculation because there’s nothing that markets hate more than uncertainty. A change in a country’s leadership or policy direction can affect everything from its stock market to commodity prices, influencing investor sentiment worldwide. 

From a UK perspective, elections in countries such as India, Brazil, and even the European Union, could have wide-reaching implications, and the results will be important in terms of supply chains, access to commodities and trade policies. With 70% of revenues earned by FTSE 100 listed companies derived overseas, domestic shareholders will be keeping a close eye on global election results. It’s impossible to talk about elections in 2024 without discussing the elephant in the room – the US. 

A rematch? 

As the world’s largest economy, the US sets the tone for global economic policies regarding trade, regulation, and fiscal stimulus. Democratic presidents are usually better for the US economy, and for investment returns in general, but given his low approval rating, the re-election of President Joe Biden is far from certain. The race is unlikely to be a straight line, and an election victory for Trump, despite numerous legal issues, could cause ripples worldwide as investors work out the likely implications for the US and indeed the rest of the world. 

What should investors be thinking about?  

Uncertainty about election outcomes and the potential for policy changes often lead to short-term fluctuations in asset prices. And while keeping an eye on political developments is important, there’s no reason to be overly concerned about how an election year could affect your investment over the longer term. It’s important not to be distracted by short-term ‘noise.’ The best way to prepare for potential market volatility is to have a well-diversified investment portfolio that is aligned with your long-term financial objectives and managed to meet your personal financial goals. 

The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The past is not a guide to future performance and past performance may not necessarily be repeated.