Tags: investors | fed | economy | united states

There's No Shame in Sitting on the Fence When Stuck in a Bad (Investing) Neighborhood

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 08:15 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement could become an interesting one, but, as always, we'll have to wait and see it before we'll know it.

One of the key question marks will be whether the FOMC will stick-or-not to the path forward as described by Fed Chair Janet Yellen recently in her Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress stating: “… If the economy evolves as we expect, economic conditions likely would make it appropriate at some point this year to raise the federal funds rate target, thereby beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy. Indeed, most participants in June projected that an increase in the federal funds target range would likely become appropriate before year-end…”

There should be no doubt the Fed will emphasize “data dependency,” which makes the forthcoming data like the employment cost index we’ll get this Friday and the next Friday's employment report very important.

What we do know is all but two of the Fed's 17 policymakers said last month they think rates should rise in 2015 while they were, unsurprisingly, divided on whether rates should be raised once or twice this year.

Thanks to “leaked” information from the Federal Reserve itself we also know the Fed staffers, who have the reputation of being more accurate than the FOMC policymakers themselves, expect one rate rise this year and four rate rises next year while the so-called Fed Dot Plot median rate forecasts expect two rate rises this year and four for next year as of June 17, when we consider rate increments of 0.25 percent.

Whatever happens, it’s also a fact rising fed fund rates won’t be supportive, but on the contrary will be damaging for emerging economies of which most could be obliged to raise their interest rates. They are in trouble with their trade performances and are better off by trying to stimulate their exports with all they can like lower interest rates and cheaper currencies because of the very simple reason global trade, with a few exceptions like the U.S. and the United Kingdom, is facing serious problems.

The latest CPB World Trade Monitor informs us:
These facts become even worse for emerging economies when we take into account what the IMF explained in its latest “World Economic Outlook” that since 2013, every 1 per cent of global growth has produced a trade increase of only just 0.7 per cent, which is for emerging economies catastrophic.

All this is for long-term investors important for different reasons and especially when they would consider diversifying their investments.

Therefore, in my opinion:

  • Considering emerging economies overall (of course there are always interesting exceptions) as part for diversifying portfolios should be put on hold for some time to come for the reasons as mentioned here before.
  • Considering China is off the table until the country stops intervening in its markets the way they do and delivers better and more transparent data, which will come, one day… let's hope so!

Besides all that, considering the eurozone as location for part of a portfolio in a long-term strategy could work out well in case we think (I don’t!) there won’t be another contagious Grexit crisis or simply a full-blown political crisis at some point in the future.

I’d prefer remaining on the fence until we’d get more clarity on where the Eurozone is headed for, above all, on political level.

No investor should overlook what a just released special report of the German Council of Economic Experts concludes and whereby it states the institutional framework of the single currency area can only ensure stability if it follows the principle of unity of liability and control (which is by far not the case today!). Reforms that stray from this guiding principle plant the seeds of further crises and may damage the process of European integration.

All this brings us to the U.S., which still remains in my opinion the best location (dollar included!) in a bad neighborhood, but where various markets segments are at risk of a correction.

Therefore my preference also here is simply to remain on the fence.

As Mary Jodi Rell said: “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.”

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The U.S. still remains in my opinion the best location (dollar included!) in a bad neighborhood, but where various markets segments are at risk of a correction. Therefore my preference also here is simply to remain on the fence.
investors, fed, economy, united states
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 08:15 AM
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