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.
There is a widespread view that the Federal Reserve will have to raise interest rates at a steady pace this year, because it cannot afford to fall behind the curve.
I would argue that it has already fallen behind the curve and has no choice but to remain there. And it is not the only one in this situation. All major central banks are playing the same game; they have no choice.
The air came out of the bond bubble last month, when bond funds recorded the highest five-week outflows in three years and a half, according to capital flows data analysed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists.
A survey by Scottish Widows imparts some uplifting news: British millennials are optimistic about their future. Around 75% of millennial-aged Britons expect their quality of life to improve or at least remain the same in retirement, it shows.
Most millennials expect to retire around 63 years of age (Scottish Widows calls this “early” retirement, but until not long ago, retiring at 63 would have been considered pretty normal).
“This generation has expensive plans for their later years, with holidaying overseas (59%), trips to the cinema and theatre (48%), keeping up with the latest fashions and buying new clothes (28%) and eating and drinking out regularly (26%) in their sights,” the survey shows.
While it’s always good to see the young looking confidently to their future, they should take a better look at these plans and perhaps revise them down a bit, following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. They should also perhaps learn from that vote and become more active and vocal in future political decisions.
The Bank of England’s decision to borrow Mario Draghi’s bazooka has had immediate consequences: investors rushed into bonds like they’re the best investment out there. And what else could they have done? Ever since the financial crisis, central banks have dictated where investors should put their money, picking winners and losers in the markets with their asset purchases.
The recent risk rally still has legs — at least that’s the case judging by the Bull & Bear indicator compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The way the markets have reacted to Brexit, you’d be forgiven to wonder what the fuss was all about.
As investors ponder whether to “sell in May and go away,” strategists say we’ll either see a “summer of stocks,” or a “summer of shocks.”
If anyone was looking for more proof of how central banks’ actions are distorting the markets, here it is: investors are trying to “front-run” the European Central Bank (ECB) – in the words of analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch — by buying investment grade bonds.
Capital flows, investor surveys and policymakers’ comments don’t paint a very optimistic picture for the week ahead — or for the rest of the quarter, for that matter.