Category Archive: 2.) Pictet Macro Analysis

Weekly View – Merkel under pressure

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House View, January 2020

Our asset allocation is dominated by a wish to stay diversified in a fragile environment. Continued ‘noise’ around trade is likely to leave markets alternating between disappointment and hope. With this in mind, we have a neutral stance on government bonds and developed-market equities alike, although we still see select opportunities in equities and appreciate the protective function of safe-haven bonds.

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ECB: Preview of the review

We see the ECB remaining on hold throughout next year although we believe it could tweak some of the technical parameters of its toolkit. The first press conference of any new ECB President is an event in itself, and this time will be no different. Christine Lagarde's debut this week will understandably attract a lot of attention as the media and market participants scrutinise both form and substance.

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Upward pressure on equity volatility mitigated by fund flows

Whereas inflation is expected to be dormant next year, our expectation of real GDP growth of just 1.3% in the US in 2020 could put upward pressure on equity volatility. Since monetary policy tends to lead volatility by two and a half years, the Fed’s turn toward quantitative tightening in 2017 is also continuing to exert upward pressure on volatility levels for now.

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Core sovereign bonds 2020 Outlook

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Euro Area 2020 Macro Outlook

After an estimated 1.2% in 2019, we expect GDP growth of 1.0% in the euro area in 2020. Country wise, we expect more manufacturing-intense countries to underperform more domestically driven ones. Thus, we project weak growth of 0.7% in Germany and 0.4% in Italy in 2020, while we expect France and Spain to remain relatively resilient, growing by 1.2% and 1.7%, respectively.

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Currencies: do it with style

Our scenario of ongoing global growth moderation and elevated political uncertainties should, we believe, support defensive currencies. We consider a currency ‘defensive’ if it is likely to remain resilient should global risk appetite falter.

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Steady euro area growth and rise in core inflation

According to Eurostat’s preliminary figures, euro area GDP grew by 0.2% quarter on quarter in Q3, the same pace as in Q2 and in line with our expectations. Country wise, France, Italy and Spain grew at the same pace in Q3 as in Q2. In particular, household and investment spending grew at a solid pace in both France and Spain. The preliminary GDP figure for Germany will not be released until 14 November.

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MMT, la nouvelle théorie en vogue à Washington

L’influence du ‘Modern Monetary Theory’ est susceptible d’augmenter dans les milieux économiques et politiques américains.La nouvelle théorie monétaire (Modern Monetary Theory/MMT), théorie macroéconomique défendue par des économistes hétérodoxes, commence à faire son chemin aux Etats-Unis.

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Euro/USD: things look pretty stable

Competing forces mean the two currencies could remain in a holding pattern for a while.The euro has remained relatively stable relative to the US dollar in the wake of the European Central Bank (ECB) and US Federal Reserve (Fed) September policy meetings. Growth and interest rate differentials, two key drivers for the EUR/USD rate, suggest things could stay this way.

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Powell plays the ‘insurance’ card again

In spite of internal divisions, the Fed may go for a third rate cut in October and step in to alleviate pressure in repo market.The Federal Reserve (Fed) cut rates by 0.25% on Wednesday, as widely anticipated. The new fed funds target range is 1.75%-2.00%. The interest rate on banks’ excess reserves was cut by 0.30% to 1.80%.

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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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