January 11, 4:00 pm EST
Yesterday we talked about the move underway in interest rates. And we talked about the media’s (and Wall Street’s) desperate need to fit a story to the price.
On that note, they had been attributing rising U.S. rates to a vaguely attributed report from Bloomberg that suggested China might find our bonds less attractive. As I said, that type of speculation and chatter isn’t new (i.e. not news). Not only was it not news, China called it “fake news” today.
But as we discussed yesterday, rates are on the move for some very simple fundamental reasons. It’s the increasing probability that we will have the hottest U.S. and global growth in the post-crisis era, this year — underpinned by fiscal stimulus. And that’s inflationary. That’s bullish for interest rates (bearish for bonds).
So, again, money may just be in the early stages of moving OUT of bonds and cash, and BACK into stocks.
But, as we’ve also discussed, the real catalyst that will unshackle market interest rates from (still) near record low levels (globally) is the end of global QE.
And that will be determined by the central banks in Europe and Japan. On that note, the European Central Bank has already reduced its monthly asset purchases (announced last October), and they’ve announced a potential end date for QEin September of 2018. This morning, we heard the minutes from the most recent ECB meeting. And the overwhelming focus, was on stepping up the communication about the exit (the end of emergency policies). And don’t be surprised if European governments follow the lead of the U.S. with tax cuts to accompany the exit of QE.
In support of this outlook, the World Bank just stepped up growth expectations for the global economy for 2018 to 3.1%, saying 2018 is on track to be the first year since the financial crisis that the global economy will be operating at full capacity.
With the above in mind, you can see in this next chart just how disconnected the interest rate market is from the economic developments.
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