What Inflation? “Oh, that’s nothing to worry about, the central banks have no choice but to keep juicing markets”… The market is so focused on the short-term and ignoring the consequences of the last 10 years of QE, monetary experimentation and easy rates, that its blundering into the next crisis. Inflation matters, and has jumped from financial assets into the real economy.
Fed Head Jerome Powell set the market wagging y’day, triggering a mini-taper tantrum in bonds and stocks when he revealed no immediate rate hike but the possibility/likelihood of 2 rate rises in 2023. Bonds and Stocks fell. Bonds are unlikely to get much better in coming months – unless we see a market wobble that forces Central Banks to intervene, or something that creates a flash flight to quality. We are now in new market phase – the correlation between bonds and equities is looking vulnerable to a reversal when the free money that’s fed the rally since 2010 dries up! This is getting….. “interesting”.
As the US Fed meets to discuss rates and assess the real inflation threat, the UK Covid-freedom delay is likely to stall recovery momentum and add to the economic pain being felt at the micro-level. Markets are pricing for a transitory inflation bloom, but what is the real inflation outlook and what will it mean for bond markets as the European Union launches Europe’s fully mutualised funding programme – don’t anyone tell the Germans its happened!
As the Federal Reserve wakes up to “elevated relative risks” and the rest of us scream “bubble”, the real questions are about real value. Why is a Bitcoin worth as much as Renaissance Art? Why is Dogecoin the top performing asset off the year when everyone knows it's a joke? And when are people going to drink the proverbial coffee?
Central Banks are playing the “lower for longer” interest rate card to reassure markets on growth. There are always consequences of such actions – ranging from bubbles, delusion and fraud. Eventually consequences trigger change, and reassessment – which is driving the rotation from Hope as a Strategy Tech into Fundamental stocks – Autos are a good example.
Central Banks face a critical ask; how to raise rates to avert fuelling the financial asset bubble without triggering market meltdown. And some brief thoughts on Scotland.
Blain’s Morning Porridge – March 4th 2020 “The Fed’s Shock and Awe emergency rate cut was awesome for all of…