Tags: US | dollar | euro | investors

Not a Single Important Economy in the World Is Out of the Woods Yet

By
Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 10:17 AM Current | Bio | Archive

On Monday, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released its latest composite leading indicators (CLIs), which are designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend.

The CLIs for the United States, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom all point to firming economic growth, while the CLIs for the eurozone, China and Canada show positive changes in momentum. Even the CLIs for France, which remains nevertheless the sick second-biggest economy of the euro area, and Italy indicate positive changes in momentum. The CLIs for most of the countries of the OECD continue improving, albeit at a slow pace and certainly not pointing at escape velocity, but it is nevertheless encouraging.

To keep it simple, it's certainly not an overstatement to say the United States remains by far the best location among the big economies in a still-bad neighborhood.

In this context, I completely agree with Bank of England chief economist Spencer Dale who said the United States is about two or three years ahead of the United Kingdom in terms of their state of recovery. However, I find his statement somewhat exaggerated. In fact, I'm still convinced that not a single important economy in the world is out of the woods yet.

That said, and this could be very important for long-term investors, I also have no doubt we are slowly entering the early stages of a turn in the U.S. monetary cycle. Yes, in the United States there are still about 4 million more people unemployed today than before the Great Recession started and the economy continues to face the threat of "disinflation," which means weak rates of increase of the general price level of goods and services, and which is very well reflected in the "velocity of M2 money stock" (M2V) numbers. M2V represents the frequency at which one unit of currency is used to purchase domestically produced goods and services within a given time period.

The M2V stood at 1.571 in July of last year, which was its lowest value since the measuring of M2V started in January 1959. The highest value was at 2.208 in July 1997, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Also on Monday, we got good news from the policymakers in Washington when the congressional negotiators released a bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill that would pay for the U.S. government operations through October. The GOP-led House is now scheduled to vote on the bill on Wednesday and if the bill passes, which is expected, the latest warning of Fitch ratings for a possible negative review of the United States' triple-A rating would be off the table, at least until November, and hopefully much longer than that.

In the meantime, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart played down last Friday's weak non-farm payrolls report, saying, "I don't think we should overreact to one month." He added, "If the positive outlook I've outlined plays out, I would support similar tapering steps over the course of this year." By the way, Lockhart expects real GDP to expand between 2.5 and 3 percent in 2014 and the economy to be poised to transition to better conditions.

I prefer to remain rather cautious and try not to become too optimistic too early.

All this means, at least in my opinion, is that it certainly looks like the Fed's tapering is definitively "locked-in," but without a pre-set speed control.

For long-term investors, I think it could be helpful to realize it is now becoming clearer by the day that the U.S. dollar's role as a "funding currency" (carry trade) is definitively up for review.

For people who have interests in emerging economies, they should not overlook the fact that when the flow of dollars into emerging markets begins to wane (I'm not saying stops), then so too will be the need for these emerging markets' central banks to diversify a portion of those dollars into euros.

Please take care, I'm not saying all this will happen overnight, but instead I think it should happen progressively, if not stealthy, which in turn would mean a mildly progressively weakening of the euro that in turn certainly should be welcomed by several weaker euro area member states.

In clear English, this means that U.S. dollar-based investors could do well to take this possibility of a progressively weakening single currency into account when they consider euro-based investments. Besides, the danger of having to face broad-based deflation is still a possibility in the euro area, because of the very simple reason the European Central Bank among other things refused last week to act to shore up inflation in the eurozone.

Of course, there have been and will always be good investments all over the world at any time, but further down the road it will be necessary to be extremely selective and, as always, it will be a question of really good timing and everybody will have to do serious homework. No, it won't be as easy as it used to be.

So far, and certainly for the last couple of years, the majority of investors have not taken into consideration what we have always known as taking into account the "real fundamentals," as they have instead taken part of following the so-called "trends," which have proven, it must be said, to be successful in many cases. That situation might now be coming to its end courtesy of the Fed and/or China's desire to stymie its reserve growth. Anyway, we'll have to wait and see, but nevertheless every long-term investor should be prepared.

© 2017 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
HansParisis
On Monday, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released its latest composite leading indicators (CLIs), which are designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend.
US,dollar,euro,investors
925
2014-17-14
Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 10:17 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
MONEYNEWS.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved