The United States are currently in the spotlight, given the primary elections for the US presidential election in November. But what does the US economy look like at the moment?
The price declines on the equity markets at the beginning of the year suggest a decline in investor confidence. Is this justified? Please find a few hypotheses for 2016 in the following:
We have experienced an increased degree of jitters on the financial markets at the beginning of the new year. The triggers of this situation are based in China. Chinese equities have incurred a slump, and the Chinese currency has depreciated relative to the US dollar. Given that at 17% the share of the Chinese economy of the global GDP on the basis of purchase power parities had already exceeded that of the USA (16%) these developments of course come with global effects.
On 3 December the European Central Bank loosened its monetary policy further. The reaction from the markets was that of disappointment, as assets had had more extensive measures priced in.
A young father is always pressed for time. What he needs is in particular is a good strategy. One of my strategies in selecting reading material is to just wait. Time will tell what is interesting and what is not. Which is why last week I read a book that had come out in 2011: Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar, by Barry Eichengreen, ( an acclaimed) professor of economic history.
The US central bank Fed hinted at an increase of the Fed funds rate in December at its meeting on 28 October. A bias towards such an increase is referred to as tightening bias.
If the economic data permit it, the Fed will increase the Fed funds rate from practically zero percent. The extent and the speed of the increases will remain low. On a global scale, we can see deflation pressure (pressure for prices and wages to fall). The strong US dollar already has a negative impact on the US economy, the financial markets are still unstable, and the so-called natural interest rate, which comes with full employment and stable and low inflation, has fallen clearly in the past years. The outlook for the risky segments of the financial market remains positive in the short run, but uncertain in the medium term.
The arguments supporting a further rise in share prices have become stronger. The important central banks have been sending expansive signals in recent weeks, i.e. signals that support the economy and the markets. The latest measure was the statement made by the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, at the ECB press conference on 22 October.
The beginning of Q4 is the time for an outlook on the coming year. At first we want to establish the determining factors for the economic activity and the markets. On this basis, we will introduce three scenarios.
Interest rate decision by the Fed
Tomorrow, Thursday 17 September 2015, the federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the US central bank Fed will be taking an important decision. Is the Fed funds rate to be raised or not? The financial markets have accorded this decision a particularly important role. After all, the rate hike by the most important central bank in the world could cause the degree of instability on the financial market to continue rising.
Regardless of whether or not a rate hike materialises, the Fed will communicate that the interest rate cycle will only be set off very gradually. At the same time, the projection for the final level of the cycle will probably be taken down a bit. If the Fed managed to alleviate the worries of excessive rate hikes, a slight increase of the Fed funds rate on coming Thursday would not upset the financial markets in any sustainable fashion. However, the weakest segments in the emerging countries would come under pressure.