Gerhard Winzer am 02nd September 2015 © Fotolia
Earlier this year the president of the ECB said we would have to get used to elevated levels of volatility. And it is true, the market environment has changed. The years 2009 to 2014 were subject to an asset price reflation regime. High rates of return were coupled with low volatility. This relationship has now reversed. The asset classes are now pricing in the moderate recovery in the industrialised economies, with low expected return amid elevated fluctuation as a rule.
Gerhard Winzer am 25th August 2015 © iStock
Equities, bonds affected by default risk, commodities, and emerging markets currencies are currently subject to corrections, which, noticeably, have now gone beyond the purview of emerging markets: while the emerging markets equity index declined by almost 6% (Performance-Data Source: Bloomberg, MSCI) last week, the index for developed markets lost 5.3% (Performance-Data Source: Bloomberg, MSCI). The fear that the economic weakening in the emerging markets might come with significant spill-over effects for the industrialised countries has increased. This prompts the question whether a phase of profound corrections is upon us in the risky asset classes. The question alone has caused the risk aversion of investors to rise. The liquidity is temporarily parked in safe havens such as US Treasury bonds, the euro, and the Japanese yen.
Gerhard Winzer am 17th August 2015 © iStock.com
On 11 August China devalued its currency by 1.9% relative to the US Dollar and announced that in the future it would expose the exchange rate of the Renminbi to the forces of supply and demand on the foreign exchange market. In a press conference the Central Bank did say, however, that it would continue to intervene if the development of the Chinese currency were “volatile”, “irrational”, or “distorted”.
Peter Szopo am 13th August 2015 © iStock.com
If you thought “quarterly” was a simple adverb characterizing a regularly recurring activity, you may need to reconsider. A new term is making the rounds: “quarterly capitalism” – and in this context, “quarterly” stands for “short-term, myopic, greedy and dysfunctional”. In fact, the term was already invented four years ago by Dominic Barton of McKinsey and was swiftly embraced by, among others, Al Gore and Prince Charles to call for a major overhaul of current business practices of listed companies and fund managers. Recently the term has reached a new level of prominence after presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in a series of appearances, complained that the “tyranny of the next earnings report” resulted in companies’ paying “too little attention on the sources of long-term growth: research and development, physical capital and talent”. Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Clinton’s proposed remedy consists of a mixture of higher taxes and more regulation.
Gerhard Winzer am 07th August 2015 Photo: iStock
Commodity prices have fallen drastically since the beginning of July. The commodity price index provided by Bloomberg has fallen by nearly 12%. In fact, many commodity prices are locked in a bear market. The index is currently almost 50% below the level of the beginning of 2011.
Over the same period the currencies of emerging countries have depreciated by about 35% vis-à-vis the US dollar, and equities have fallen by about 26%.
Gerhard Winzer am 31st July 2015 Ⓒ ERSTE-SPARINVEST
Global GDP growth has probably only increased marginally in Q2 after the very weak Q1. Economic activity has thus remained disappointingly weak on a global scale.
Gerhard Winzer am 06th July 2015 © Fotolia
Last Sunday, the Greek people decided with a clear majority to follow the proposal of their government. With 61.3%, the No camp rejected the conditions of the expired adjustment program. Thereby, Greece is one step closer to an exit from the Eurozone and the European Union.
Gerhard Winzer am 29th June 2015 © iStock
The breakdown of the negotiations between Greece and its creditors as well as the planned referendum on 5 July troubles capital markets. Greece itself is formally not insolvent. As long that this is not the case the European Central Bank (ECB) will do whatever it takes to contain spillover risks. After the referendum, the next key date will be 20 July, where bonds issued by the ECB will be payable. Until then a number of decisions has to be taken and a new financial package negotiated.
Peter Szopo am 24th June 2015 © Fotolia.de
The longest eleventh hour in recent history is drawing to a close. However, while the negotiations earlier this week seem to have narrowed the gap between Greece and its creditors, a final deal has not emerged yet.
Gerhard Winzer am 19th June 2015 © iStock
Summary: The economic recovery in the developed economies is supported by the very expansive monetary policies, lower austerity pressure on the government front and among banks, and the fallen oil price. Growth rates remain moderate. In the emerging markets we can see signs of low-level stabilisation at best. The possible default of Greece, excessive interest rate hikes in the USA, a further decline of productivity, and continued economic weakening in the emerging markets are the main risks the markets are faced with.