Eoin Treacy's view -
As markets enter into the summer lull, it is useful to take a step back. The global economy is in better shape than it has been in several years. This has allowed other central banks to follow the Fed and gradually start their exit journey, a process that is a historic challenge given the unprecedented level of monetary accommodation. But with inflation still below target, a key part of the normalisation puzzle is still missing.
Although labour market tightness has not yet fed to wages, and hence to inflation, we expect it will. Core inflation should move higher over the medium-term in the US and Europe, supporting further monetary tightening and a normalisation of yield curves. While no policy change is expected by the Fed on 26-July, an announcement to begin phasing out its balance sheet reinvestment is likely in September and we expect another rate hike in December. As for the ECB, rate hikes are still far off, and we expect the central bank to announce another QE extension and tapering in October.
Our global macro outlook is little changed this year. We expect growth to rebound from the slowest pace post-crisis in 2016, though relative to consensus we are more positive on the US and more bearish on Japan. In China, we continue to expect a gradual deceleration, but see upside risks to growth in the second half of the year.
We are generally constructive on risk assets, expecting material upside to US equities in the next 18 months and positive but more balanced performance in EM. There are signs the dollar has peaked, but we do not expect a material devaluation yet. We are more positive on the euro, seeing upside versus the dollar and sterling. We expect yield curves to normalise gradually, but there is risk of a more sudden upward shift, depending on the path of core inflation.
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Gradual monetary tightening against a background of improving global growth is about as benign a scenario for markets as one might wish for. It certainly beats the alternative.
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