The environment on the financial markets has become a bit bleaker. Growth rates of industrial output and the survey-based indicators for economic growth are falling, while the trade conflict between the USA and China and the tense geopolitical situation in the Middle East has caused the risk for global growth to increase further.
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.
The 4th BBVA Latin American Local Markets Conference in London gave me the chance to speak in detail with some local Latin American representatives. In the following, I would like to share some of the insights I gained from these conversations and the narratives that may affect 2018.
„If you’re going through hell, keep going!”
Sir Winston Spencer Churchill
The year 2018 had started on such a promising note – is what we all were thinking. But at the beginning of February, the market taught us a lesson. As a result, the discussions at our first Investment Committee of the year at the beginning of February were interesting ones.
There are many factors that may affect inflation. Also, the weights of certain factors may vary across countries. Take the development of the exchange rate, for example.
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?
In the past two days, the stock exchanges, spearheaded by the New York Stock Exchange, have shed the entire previous gains of 2018. Even last week, inflation worries had started to weigh on the markets. But the recent reaction was extraordinarily strong, with experts likening it to the excellent employment report in the US.
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?