In the fourth quarter too, the growth trend of the global economy continued. In many regions, there was a renewed upturn in production. At the same time, the recovery of investment expenditure formed the basis for more stable increases in exports and in global trade. This makes growth more sustainable. In light of the moderate inflation trend, central banks continued to provide incentives for favorable borrowing for commercial banks. The most important exception in this regard was the Federal Reserve System, which further increased the key interest rate in December.
In the USA, the business and consumer climate are at the highest level for many years. The service sector developed strongly, as in the previous quarter. This led to the purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector achieving the highest value since 2005. Above all, incoming orders indicate a continuation of stable business activity, while the employment component augured well for the job market. The unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in November; the lowest level since 2000. The Federal Reserve System increased the key interest rates at the end of the quarter, thereby confirming the improved economic outlook and the rise in inflation.
In the euro zone, the aboveaverage economic growth continued. The purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector of the eurozone recorded highs again. This means that companies are still assessing the economic optimistically. Incoming orders for companies were also at the highest level for five years, which indicates continuing solid economic momentum. In Germany, political uncertainty had no effect on the business climate of German companies. The announcement by the ECB that it will continue its QE program until far into 2018 means that it will also provide incentives for the eurozone's economy in 2018, thereby supporting growth and inflation.
The Swiss economy gave mixed signals. Investments and foreign trade developed strongly. At the same time, private consumption increased slightly. Various survey data continued to indicate a strong growth dynamic. The purchasing managers' index reached levels as high as seven years ago. Incoming orders were stable, the KOF indicator increased in November for the third month in a row and investor sentiment improved compared to the previous quarter. The economy was, nevertheless, imbalanced. This meant that the strength of the exporters, who benefit from stable demand and from weaker Swiss francs, was partly overridden by sluggish expenditure on the part of households and the burden of diminished construction activity. On the basis of mostly positive data, the SNB retained its monetary policy.
Portfolio return (fourth quarter 2017)
The last three months of 2017 were also a good quarter for Vita Joint Foundation. October, with 1.43 percent, contributed most to the performance amounting to 1.99 percent. With 0.07 percent or 0.48 percent respectively, the last two months of 2017 also managed to enter positive territory.
Portfolio return (2017)
Considered over the whole of 2017, the Vita portfolio was able to generate 6.76 percent. Equities participated to the greatest extent in this, with 5.30 percentage points of that amount, arising from a performance level of 21.24 percent. The spectrum here ranges from 14.27 percent for European equities to 27.81 for those from emerging economies. All the further investment categories still show a positive performance, even if slightly less so. In this regard, real estate, with a 5.53 percent performance, should be mentioned first, followed by alternative investments with 2.27 percent, bonds with 2.11 percent, and mortgages with 1.71 percent.