Total assets held by major central banks are above $20tn. While Fed’s balance sheet has stabilized, the balance sheets of ECB, Bank of Japan and Bank of China have been increasing steadily.
Of course, the reduction in Fed’s balance sheet, expected to effectively start in 2018, will have a material impact on financial markets – the recent spike in volatility might be seen as a sort of recognition of that fact.
But global monetary base is still growing, which will in the end limit the potential for higher rates going forward and sustain high valuations in financial markets.
I attended a quite interesting presentation yesterday organized by Schroder on emerging markets. Two fund managers presented on equities and debt. The head of EM debt absolute return strategies had a very interesting analysis of the current environment.
Is it almost over or does the bull market have the ability to last a bit longer? What indicators should investors look at the get a sense of where we are in the cycle? Nomura’s Kevin Gaynor published a very interesting checklist and shared his views on how to assess the end of the current cycle.
The laggard argument to reposition part of asset allocation to Malaysia might be a mistake, according to HSBC’s strategists. Investors should actually be looking at more fundamental drivers to reconsider their exposure to the Asian economy, such a rising commodity prices, increased China investments in the region and political upside risk.
Better growth, low inflation. It’s the perfect backdrop for risky assets. But in a late cycle environment, one of the driver of financial markets people should always be fearful about is the « fear of missing out », especially when the rise in stock market accelerates and relies more on multiple expansion than fundamental improvement.
« En Marche! », that’s an easy catch for brokers and a good way to have investors be more pro-risk in their asset allocation now that the political landscape has cleared for the best, thanks to Macron’s win at the French presidential election…
US 10 year yield is around 2.5% which is quite low. But if you take inflation into account, the situation is far worse. But real rates should be higher, based on the current fundamentals of the economy. This means that central banks should have ended QE some time ago already, but they can’t because they are prisoners of financial markets. They are just stuck in a mess they helped creating in the first place, because they never got the guts to stop banks around the world, and especially in the US, from doing stupid things.