Alternative Markets Update March 2021
In the current uncertainty in the markets, macroeconomic factors play an important role aside from Covid-19 and the vaccination efforts. Inflation is a major concern in 2021, even though it was very obvious in 2020 already. However, in 2020, it was completely overshadowed by Covid-19 and the tremendous surge in equity markets among others. Inflation is a concern around the world, caused by the severe interventions undertaken by central banks. In particular in the US, where the FED intervened with money printing on such a scale that it cannot be compared to any other economy. This was largely required, as conventional monetary policy was not enough, for example, lowering the interest rates to the area around 0%. Even quantitative easing could not solve the problem, even though the FED’s balance sheet ballooned. Figure 1 shows the FED’s balance sheet over the last five years. At the beginning of the crisis, the federal reserve was at around $4.3tn. In 2020, this increased by 76% to $7.3tn and is still rising in 2021. Currently, it is at almost $7.7tn. In comparison to 2008, during which the federal reserve increased by 151%, the balance sheet increased by “only” $1.3tn in absolute terms. It is important to note that during the last two decades, the FED’s balance never declined by more than 1% on an annual basis with one exception being 2018 with a decrease of 8%. Interest rates in the US have recovered quite spectacularly over the last months. Figure 2 shows the development of interest rates in major economies over the last few months. The US interest rates are higher than any other interest rate from the UK, Europe or Japan, both short- and long-term. The short-term interest rates have remained very stable, while the long-term rates have increased a lot, for example, the 10-y US treasury note is soon back at 2%.
Macro and Political Outlook October 2020 by Macro Eagle
Packed calendar ahead. This week we get employment in the US, while China goes on holiday for week (mid-autumn festival). Next week we have the only VP debate, plus we will find out if Congress manages to pass another relief-package before the recess starts on Columbus Day (Oct 12th). Then, the Third Week promises fireworks with the EU Council meeting battling over the recovery fund, the EU budget and Brexit. We also get the 2nd Presidential debate, the start of Q3 Earnings and tons of economic data. After that, the Fourth Week brings us the 3rd Debate. Interestingly, on the same day, the FDA will hold a “vaccine update committee”, which makes me think that this could provide a platform for Trump to announce a tactical “huuuuge breakthrough – biggest ever”. Finally, the Fifth Week will feature the ECB (strategy review, PEPP, maybe AIT) while everybody else is counting the days to Election Day the week after. With the al-fresco days of summer now officially over, the start of the “normal” Northern flu season is upon us, so before we talk about the US election, let us quickly turn to Covid.