Tags: economy | investors | rate | growth

Hope for the Best, Be Prepared for the Worst

Hope for the Best, Be Prepared for the Worst
(Dollar Photo Club)

By    |   Wednesday, 30 September 2015 07:35 AM EDT

The third quarter is ending with all main indexes firmly in the “red.”

The legitimate question any investor could ask is: “Is there worse to come?”

Unfortunately, fresh data show global growth expectations weakening further.

Allianz, which is the world’s largest insurance company and financial services group with more than $2.17 trillion assets under management, expects the world to grow in 2016 by only 2.9 percent; the U.S. by 2.6 percent; the eurozone by 1.6 percent and emerging markets (EM) by 4.2 percent.

These downward global-growth revisions are important for long-term investors who intend to buy when equities, commodities show signs of bottoming out. I don’t think we are there yet and it could still take some time before we are finally there. Remaining patient will probably remain the golden rule.

As of late, we could hear in several places the time is right for stepping back into commodities. As a long-term investor, I would remain extremely cautious for the very simple reason commodity prices normally don’t rise when global “demand”  continuous being weak or even weaker because of lower growth expectations.

At the same time, the world is facing very low inflation in the most important economies (exceptions are Brazil, Russia and some less important ones), under which the extremely important economic bloc of the eurozone is now facing the nightmare of slipping back into “technical deflation” as annual inflation is now expected to be at negative 0.1 percent.

In context of the above it could be helpful not to overlook simply what we got today:
  • Japan’s industrial production numbers disappoint again as growth remains stuck at close to “zero” on a year-to-year basis
  • UK GDP growth in Q2 of 2015 has been revised down to 2.4 percent from 2.6 percent earlier. Notwithstanding the UK is one of the few important economies whose growth figures at present are “good”, it is remarkable only the “services” component is growing at better quarter-over-quarter levels than in Q1 of 2008. All other GDP growth components like manufacturing, production and construction are still below their 2008 growth levels
  • The eurozone unemployment rate came in at 11 percent.
Finally,  the Institute of International Finance (IIF) whose members include all the leading banks and financial houses of the world informed net non-resident portfolio flows to Emerging Markets (EM) were negative for the third consecutive month in September, while global investors are estimated to have sold $40 billion worth of EM assets in Q3 of 2015, which would make it the worst quarter since Q4 of 2008.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough, the IMF just has warned that notwithstanding market liquidity is not in decline, it is nevertheless prone to evaporate in case of shocks.

In recent years, factors such as investors’ higher risk appetite and low interest rates have been masking growing underlying weakness in market liquidity.

Understanding “market liquidity” is complicated and therefore, when market liquidity suddenly dries up most investors as well as market participants are literally “trapped” with all the negative financial consequences that implies.

The IMF also warned about the high level (4X since 2004) of corporate debt that has been accumulated by non-financial firms in emerging economies while from past experiences we have learned financial crisis in emerging markets have all been preceded by rapid and too much leverage growth.

In other words, the stage is set for accidents (yes, plural!) to happen in emerging economies. The only unknown remains when. In case emerging markets start losing some wheels (let’s hope that doesn’t happen!), no doubt there will be widespread negative impacts.

Yes, I think there is worse to come in the markets. “Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst” will be the golden rule for some time to come.

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Unfortunately, fresh data show global growth expectations weaken further.
economy, investors, rate, growth
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 07:35 AM
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