Central banks: hear no inflation, see no inflation, speak no inflation
While global inflationary expectations have moderated as a risk-on mindset has gained momentum following the French Presidential first round vote, actual inflation is surprising to the upside. While the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and European Central Bank (ECB) have met investor expectations for policy announcements in recent days, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) could disappoint at its June meeting. hear no inflation, see no inflation, speak no inflation
Major central banks have recently maintained the status quo with expansive stimulus programs, reluctant to rein in stimulus programs. While such cautious behaviour will prevent another ‘taper tantrum’ it could see inflation meaningfully breach inflation targets. Inflationary expectations have moderated, but we feel rising inflationary momentum is being underestimated by some central banks.
Understandably, the BOJ is no closer to tapering: the Japanese central bank softened its inflation outlook at this week’s meeting (from 1.5% to 1.4% by 2017/18), as wage growth remains muted, despite a relatively tight labour market.
Similarly, the ECB remains cautious in its approach, appearing to lack confidence in its expectation that inflation will return to its target. Although not explicitly stated, the political uncertainty in Europe must be a concern for the central bank as it delays the return of normal economic activity. The political uncertainty that is rife in Europe hinders a proactive reform agenda for government policy. The ECB’s simulative stance is positive for supporting growth but will likely need to be modified before year-end as inflationary pressure picks up, fuelled by growth momentum, as uncertainty fades. Undervalued European equity markets are likely to benefit, not be hampered, by a more hawkish ECB, as they respond to the potential from a stronger economic landscape. The Euro should also be supported by the ECB reducing its stimulus,
Meanwhile the Fed is likely to disappoint the market by keeping rates unchanged. The market is pricing in a 60% chance of a rate hike at its June meeting (from highs of 85% in recent weeks). We expect that June is too soon for the Fed to raise rates despite the upward momentum in core inflation. The USD will remain soft, encumbered by a central bank that remains behind the curve despite evidence of building growth and inflation pressures.
Central banks: hear no inflation, see no inflation, speak no inflation by Martin Arnold
Martin Arnold joined ETF Securities as a research analyst in 2009 and was promoted to Global FX & Commodity Strategist in 2014. Martin has a wealth of experience in strategy and economics with his most recent role formulating an FX strategy at an independent research consultancy. Martin has a strong background in macroeconomics and financial analysis – gained both at the Reserve Bank of Australia and in the private commercial banking sector – and experience covering a range of asset classes including equities and bonds. Martin holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of New South Wales (Australia), a Master of Commerce from the University of Wollongong (Australia) and attained a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance and Investment from the Securities Institute of Australia.