The most important central bank of the world, the US Fed, increased the Fed funds rate on 21 March and also published projections for economic key indicators. Even though this does not sound like much, the implications for the markets are significant.
The announcement by the US President, Donald Trump, to levy import tariffs on steel (25%) and aluminium (10%) has made waves. Can the favourable economic environment of boom, low inflation, and gradual reduction of the supportive monetary policy be toppled?
The economic environment for the capital markets is subject to change as we speak. About one and a half years ago, the global economy shifted from recovery to boom, which was very advantageous for the markets. The features were strong, broadly based economic growth, low inflation, very supportive monetary policies, good earnings growth, and limited price fluctuations on the markets. We have now started leaving this best of all worlds (“Goldilocks scenario”) in more and more categories.
Equity indices have undergone a global correction in the past days. The Dow Jones index has shed more than 10% from its January high. What is the macro-economic reason for the correction?
At the beginning of 2018, economic indicators are confirming the recovery scenario. Above all, the yields of government bonds are on the rise. Why is that the case, and what does it mean for the financial market as a whole?
The current environment is very positive for the capital markets: strong growth, low inflation, supportive monetary policies, good earnings growth, and low volatilities, i.e. fluctuations. Also, the numerous risks have not had a significantly negative impact on prices. However, the phase of rising prices started as early as March 2009. This environment implies that any change in the relevant parameters such as growth, inflation, and monetary policy would be tantamount to deterioration, given that improvement is not possible anymore. The most important question asked by investors at the outset of 2018 is therefore whether this positive environment is still here to stay.
Venezuela is in a difficult situation. Hyperinflation describes the economic environment best. For 2017, the IMF estimates a consumer price inflation of 650% y/y, and for 2018, the estimate is 2,300%.
The Council of the European Central Bank pulled an impressive stunt at the monetary policy meeting on 26 October. ECB President Mario Draghi announced to reduce the extremely supportive monetary policy in the near future while sounding very cautious (dovish) with regard to the process at the same time.
The events in Catalonia are a new disruptive political element on the capital markets. The basic question is whether the generally favourable environment for risky assets is sustainable.
The most important central bank in the world, the Federal Reserve of the USA, has announced a historic decision as a result of its FOMC meeting on 20 September: the central bank balance sheet, hugely inflated in the wake of the bond purchase programme, will be gradually reduced from October onwards. Generally speaking this is a good sign, as the decision can be seen as further testimony to the normalisation of the economic environment.