Category Archive: 2.) Pictet Macro Analysis

Oil prices and the global economy

Low oil prices are good news for disposable income. But they also reflect the risk of oversupply in a world where growth indicators continue to point down.Events since Trump first threatened increased tariffs in 2017 provide a textbook example of how tariffs are transmitted through the global economy. First, the uncertainty they create hurts sentiment.

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Swiss National Bank – Between a rock and a hard place

We expect the Swiss National Bank to stay on hold at its next policy meeting, but a lot will depend on ECB and Fed meetings.Uncertainties and global slowdown are weighing on business investment in Switzerland, while household consumption growth has been slowing. Swiss GDP rose by 0.3% q-o-q in Q2 (down from 0.4% in Q1), mainly due to spending in healthcare, housing and energy.

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Brazilian real stands out in EM currency scorecard

Prospects for emerging-market currencies look cloudy. The currencies of countries with sound external buffers and limited exposure to global trade should fare relatively better than others.In recent months, the global environment has become more challenging for EM currencies. Trade tensions have increased and are weighing on economic activity. Commodity prices have also fallen.

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Emerging market sovereign debt update: yields are falling

Yields have fallen significantly in the EM sovereign bond space in local currency; USD movements will be key to watch for going forward.Yields have fallen impressively in the emerging market (EM) sovereign bond space in local currency, reaching 5.3% on 16 August, near their all-time low of 5.2% (in May 2013). This downward movement has been partly driven by the recent policy rate cuts of some EM central banks.

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Italy: Back to polls in Q4 2019?

Recent developments in Italy’s political landscape have increased the probability of early elections in Q4 2019, but the situation is not so straightforward. Last week, political tensions in Italy intensified as Matteo Salvini, the League’s leader triggered a no confidence vote against Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.PM Conte will address the Senate on 20 August.

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New monetary policies for new challenges

As central banks try (yet again) to bolster faltering growth and inflation, it is important to grasp how the ‘style’ and aims of monetary policy-making have changed over time and how they need to evolve in the future.The world is being disrupted by structural trends such as populism, demographic and climate change and technological innovation.

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DATA ADDS TO THE CASE FOR ECB ACTION IN SEPTEMBER

Slowing economic momentum in the euro area means that we are lowering our GDP forecasts for this year. The euro area economy grew by 0.2% q-o-q in Q2, down from 0.4% in Q1.While 0.2% is still a decent pace of growth, concerns about the economy in the second half of the year have increased. Recent data have shown that the industrial slump has started to leave some marks on the domestic economy.

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BREXIT UNCERTAINTY TO WEIGH ON YIELDS

UK sovereign bond (gilts) yields have fallen this year, with the 10-year yield dropping by 59 basis points (bps) to 0.69%1, in concert with other core sovereign bond yields. The Brexit saga, along with the global slowdown forcing many central banks to turn dovish, are the main factors behind this steep fall.

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DM credit caught between opposing forces

Despite the impressive year-to-date performance of corporate credit, we remain prudent about prospects in the remainder of 2019.Corporate bonds have posted stellar total returns year to date, thanks to the positive combination of lower sovereign yields and tighter credit spreads.

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Semaña grande for Sánchez

The interim Spanish prime minister, the socialist Pedro Sánchez, will aim to form a government this week. Outside the political noise, the Spanish economy continues to do well.April’s elections in Spain resulted in a fragmented parliament, making the formation of a government complicated.

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Euro area manufacturing is not out of the woods

Industrial production rebounded in May. But a closer look shows that the improvement was narrowly spread, and euro area manufacturing faces numerous challenges ahead.After two consecutive months of contraction, euro area industrial production (IP, excluding construction) rose by 0.9% month on month (m-o-m) in May, above consensus expectations.

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Powell’s Congressional testimony sets the scene for rate cut

The Fed will likely cut rates by 25 basis points on 31 July, with a similar cut possible as early as September.During his testimony before the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell repeated the dovish signals he gave at the Fed press conference in June, hinting at a rate cut at the next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on 31 July.

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The ECB moves to keep euro bond yields down

Prospects of more ECB easing has contributed to an across-the-board rally in euro sovereign bonds yields and could help limit volatility in peripheral bonds.Since Mario Draghi in June signalled the European Central Bank’s (ECB) readiness to embark on more easing should the euro area economy fail to regain speed, euro sovereign bonds yields have fallen across the board, with the 10-year Bund yield briefly moving below -0.4% (the same level as the...

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A truce between Rome and Brussels

For now, Italy has avoided Brussels' Excessive Deficit Procedure. But tensions are set to rise again in the autumn when Italy presents its 2020 budget package.In its mid-year budget revision, the Italian government lowered its 2019 deficit target. The government pointed to better-than-expected revenues for this revision, including tax revenues that were EUR3.5bn higher than expected and an additional EUR2.7bn in other revenues (including dividends...

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China looks to new policies to boost infrastructure spending

To stabilise growth, the Chinese government will likely put more focus on infrastructure investment. A new policy announced recently could give a further boost to this sector.Activity data in May point to continued weakness in Chinese economic momentum, with growth in both fixed-asset investment and industrial production slowing last month.

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Bund yields-Heading further down?

Our central forecast is for Bund yields to rise (feebly) into positive territory by the end of this year, although risks are tilting to the downside.Four main factors have been driving down the 10-year Bund yield, which reached an all-time low of -0.26% on June 7. Considering changing circumstances, we have lowered our year-end target for the 10-year Bund yield from 0.3% to 0.1% and expect it to remain in negative territory until at least October...

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How dovish can Swiss monetary policy go?

The Swiss National Bank finds itself having to deal with an uncertain growth and inflation outlook as well as persistent external risks, but it is unlikely to pre-empt the ECB on interest rates.At its meeting on 13 June, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) will face an uncertain growth and inflation outlook. Economic data have been mixed and, more importantly, external risks (intensification of trade disputes, Brexit, Italian budget disagreements…) have...

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Why has euro inflation stayed so low?

Weak inflation data pose a conundrum, both in terms of the growth outlook and the ECB’s policy stance. We believe the ECB will stay on hold in 2020.The euro area headline flash Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) dropped to 1.2% year on year in May from 1.7% the previous month.  Core inflation fell by 50bp to 0.8% y-o-y.

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Avenues worth exploring in strategic asset allocation

The prospect of diminishing returns for classic, and previously highly effective, 60/40 portfolios (60% equities, 40% bonds) is leading to changes in strategic asset allocation. Efforts to improve prospects include identifying macroeconomic regimes to guide investments and refining how diversification is understood.

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European elections – a more diverse but still pro-Europe parliament

Voter turnout for European parliament elections surged across the continent, exceeding 50% for the first time in a quarter century and breaking the downward trend of the last four decades. However, differences in turnout across the EU have been substantial and a more fragmented parliament has emerged.Voter turnout was up for the first time ever and at 51%, higher than in any election since 1994. The results delivered a parliament with a...

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