The rise in bond yields in developed economies in the past 6 weeks remains one of the over-riding themes as we head into the last seven days of the US presidential campaigns.
Markets are now fretting about the implications for global growth and asset valuations and ultimately whether elevated global risk appetite will correct more forcefully.
Higher international commodity prices, a pick-up in global GDP growth in Q3 and early Q4 and easing deflation fears suggest that interest rate policies in developed economies may have reached an important inflexion point – in line with the view I expressed six weeks ago.
Developed central banks may refrain from loosening monetary policy further near-term, with the exception of the RBNZ and possibly ECB. At the very least, policy-makers will tweak a discourse which has largely focused on doing “whatever it takes”.
Recent US data have paved the paved the way for a 14th December Fed hike, conditional on Democrat candidate Hilary Clinton wining the 8th November US presidential elections.
But with the exception of the Fed and possibly a handful of EM central banks, rate hikes are a story for the latter part of 2017 (perhaps) while further rate cuts remain on the cards in Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and India.
Higher global yields and still uncertain US election outcome are taming global equities and volatility has spiked but EM currencies have still managed to eek out modest gains.
Assuming Hilary Clinton wins next week, I would expect the initial reaction to be a rally in global equities, EM currencies and Dollar and an underperformance of safe-haven assets.
But I would also expect market pricing for a December Fed hike to rise a little further, which could in turn eventually curtail any rally in global equities and EM currencies.
In this scenario, the Dollar would likely end the year stronger, as per my January forecast of a third consecutive year of albeit more modest Dollar gains.
Whether global risk appetite avoids its early 2016 fate will depend on the interconnected factors of underlying macro data and the Fed’s credibility. In any case, market volatility could spike in the run-up to March 2017.
The self-reinforcing sell-off in Sterling and UK bonds has only very recently abated, with markets seemingly taken some comfort from a number of factors including the only modest slowdown in UK GDP growth to 0.5% qoq in Q3.
But optimism over UK GDP data is not warranted as growth has become more unbalanced and slowed in August-September despite a significant easing in UK monetary policy. Read more