Just as it was beginning to look like the bond market’s luck was finally running out, President Trump made some remarks that all but guarantee that the bond rally will go on for a little while longer.
While all eyes are still on Turkey, another emerging market is about to show the ugly side of quantitative tightening, and this time things could get really serious.
The world’s second largest economy has been a “success story” for so long that people have forgotten about China’s many vulnerabilities. Or rather, the Chinese communist party has been so good at keeping things under wraps, that few of the country’s weaknesses are known to the outside world.
This past week, there has been a frenzy of selling of emerging markets assets. The outflows from both stocks and debt in emerging markets reached their highest level since December 2016.
This amounted to $3.7 billion withdrawn from emerging market equities and bonds, according to data analysed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. These outflows have helped push our old friend, the Bull/Bear indicator developed by BofA Merrill Lynch, to 4.8 — its lowest level since January 2017.
Investors’ optimism remained at very high levels, despite the beginning of tapering of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB), tensions with North Korea and the Catalan crisis.
Last week was a feast of records for Wall Street: the S&P 500 recorded six consecutive highs, something not seen for two decades. The streak only ended after a jobs report that showed the first negative reading in seven years, skewed by the hurricanes that hit the U.S. in September.
The European Central Bank (ECB) will find itself the only game in town soon. It is the only major central bank still buying bonds hand over first, and therefore it is dictating the pace for private investors.
By Sourajit Aiyer
The Indian central bank’s upcoming policy review this week, a month after demonetization, holds ample suspense for a possible interest rate cut.
The demonetization of Rs 500/1,000 currency notes since November 8 has led to a rapid inflow of deposits in banks. Brought in to fight black market money and counterfeits, the amount in circulation in these notes was estimated at around Rs 14 trillion, i.e. about 86% of the total.
Citizens were asked to deposit them in their banks, leading to the deposit surge. The Hindu, a leading daily, said ~Rs 8.5 trillion had been deposited by end November and estimated it to reach between Rs 10-11 trillion by early-December.
By Sourajit Aiyer
This article was originally published in Society for Policy Studies’ South Asia Monitor, India.
The United States was the sole superpower after the bipolar Cold-War ended with the Soviet Union’s demise. Then, China started flexing its geopolitical muscle using its manufacturing boom-led foreign exchange to woo developing nations. It is fast expanding its military presence in its neighbourhood.
Russia has become assertive again, and is expanding its influence in Eurasian and Middle East regions, backed by the might of its defence establishment. It is quite a coincidence that the superpowers are often the biggest producers and exporters of defence arms.
Equities were the big winners of the past week in terms of capital flows, while investment grade bonds continued to haemorrhage funds.
Stocks were technically oversold, and sentiment was on the brink of a “buy” signal last week, when at the same time there were weekly inflows into European, US and Japanese equities, according to flows data.