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If Your Money Is Safe, Don't Move it Because Anything Can Happen in 2016

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Friday, 18 Dec 2015 07:09 AM Current | Bio | Archive

This was not precisely a real “data-dependent” inspired Fed rate hike.

U.S. nominal GDP is on a downward slope as are the FOMC mid-point “real” GDP forecasts while the dollar is on the rise, of which any of them needed a Fed funds rate hike this time around.

Could it be, the Fed finally decided (anyway too late) for liftoff because they didn’t want to create a “not-move-tantrum,” which wouldn’t have been helpful to anybody.

Anyway at the press conference after the FOMC had decided to raise rates by 25 basis points (bp), Fed Chair Mrs. Yellen said: “We decided to move at this time because we feel the conditions that we set out for a move, namely further improvement in the labor market and reasonable confidence that inflation would move back to 2 percent over the medium term, we felt that these conditions had been satisfied.”

In the FOMC statement there are a couple of very subtle word changes compared with the October statement: … the Committee sees the risks to the outlook for both economic activity and the labor market "as balanced” instead of “nearly balanced” in October, and Inflation is expected to rise "to 2 percent over the medium term” instead of rising gradually "toward" 2 percent in October, which both point to “confidence” from their side notwithstanding the FOMC expects at the same time that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant “only” gradual increases.

All that said and if, and that’s a big “if”, the Committee is right in its forecasts, which it isn’t most of the time, then we could see in 2016 and in 2017 rates rising by 100 basis points in each year, which could bring us in the lower 2 percent zone.

No doubt, reasons abound for investors to "misprice" the Fed tightening cycle.

Investors could do well not to overlook the probability global growth could remain subdued in 2016.

Also, most investors do not consider geopolitical risk factors when making investment decisions, but they are out there and could serious damage if something evolves not the way as widely expected.

In 2016, we will have:

  • The U.S. presidential election.
  • In the EU, the refugee-crisis-related tensions.
  • In the U.K., the referendum on a “Brexit,” which stands for a British withdrawal from the European Union.
  • In Syria and the Middle East, the out-of-imagination difficult situation that could get out of hand at any time and that continuous harboring many sources for further terrorist attacks.
  • The still ongoing commodities prices collapse, which, when we look at the Standard & Poor's Goldman Sachs commodity index, are now at levels not seen this century.
Investors could do well putting these “subjects” on their watch-list as they all will, whatever occurs, weigh on investment sentiment in 2016.

All that said, there are some legitimate important questions about the Fed liftoff which will only get answers as time goes by, and which are:

  • Will the Fed be able to make their rate hike undertaking “stick” by using their current toolbox?
  • At what speed will the Fed finally move?
  • What will the Fed do with its “expanded” balance sheet?
And then we have the impact the Fed liftoff will have on the emerging markets (EM).

EM will probably see inflation rise in 2016, and which Deutsche Bank now expects to rise from 5.6 to 5.9 percent, due to considerable exchange rate depreciation in 2015 and that will probably continue in 2016 thanks in part to the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) decision to “de-peg” the Chinese currency (CNY) from the dollar and measure the CNY against a basket of currencies, which should weaken the renminbi/yuan (CNY).

There is also little doubt that rising rates in the U.S. will further support the dollar overall, which will not be helpful for stimulating private non-resident capital flows into emerging markets.

In addition, many emerging economies have historically demonstrated their dependency on commodities, whose prices aren’t expected to rebound any time soon.

Unfortunately, emerging markets are set to face, for some time to come, a poor combination of lack of growth and trade, changing manufacturing landscape, tighter liquidity and higher cost of capital.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough, Goldman Sachs just informed there are “high risks” that oil prices may have to drop to $20 a barrel to force production to shut down, which should help oil prices to rise again, but that, for now at least, doesn’t help the outlook for oil-dependent emerging economies either.

Conclusion: If your money is safe now, don’t move it because literally anything could happen in 2016.

Etienne "Hans" Parisis is a Belgian-born bank economist who has advised global billionaires and governments on the financial markets and international investments. To read more of his articles, GO HERE NOW.

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If your money is safe now, don’t move it because literally anything could happen in 2016.
fed, money, economy, invest
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2015-09-18
Friday, 18 Dec 2015 07:09 AM
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