Central Banks and Politics will be the dominant theme this week/month/year. Politicians are anxious to show inflation and recession are not their fault. Blame Central Banks! The Politics of Blame has profound consequences for markets.
Central Banks have one real job: avoid inflation! It’s here, and the consequences will be devasting as conventional rate-hiking wisdom is used to fight a wholly exogenous supply side shock. There may be alternatives, but “credibility” is everything to Central Banks.
After the brutal lessons of April, May will set the tone for a new market – lots of threats, but full of opportunity.
Markets are roiled by lockdowns and approaching holidays. Already the guessing season has begun – with predictions running all the way from Gloomy to Dire. Central Banks will be anxious to be seen to be doing the right thing – which probably means more of the same. And investors? Delusional or exploiting the delusion of others.
How much longer can the market madness continue? Traditionally they remain irrational for longer than you can stay solvent. Central banks must be terrified – damned if they act, damned if they don’t. The basis of markets is under threat from unbridled speculation fuelled by their actions.
The risks of Central Bank policy mistakes are escalating. Fixed Income markets are wising up to the potential of long-term stagflation/inflation. A bond correction will crush stock markets if/when real interest rates turn positive. Central Bankers will need to decide: intervene to save markets – continuing the current distortions, or let loose the dogs of market meltdown. Anyone for the last few choc-ices?
As markets shake off their summer slumbers, what should we be worrying about? Lots..! From real vs transitory inflation arguments, the long-term economic consequences of Covid, the future for Central Banking unable to unravel its Gordian knot of monetary experimentation, and the prospects for rising political instability in the US and Europe.
Consequences are unavoidable. Pension savers are crushed by interest rate repression and the changing demographics of Covid, while the deluge of debt fuelled by low rates does nothing for economic sustainability.