Tags: North Korea | Euro area | markets | Japan

It's As Good As It Gets for Euro Area Growth

It's As Good As It Gets for Euro Area Growth
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Tuesday, 29 August 2017 11:02 AM Current | Bio | Archive

North Korea apparently continues unabated its missile program by firing a missile over Japan and risks once again “verbal” fire and fury.

The financial markets have not, as yet, shown much interest in this with the exception of the currency markets where we have seen the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc strengthening against the dollar thanks to increased geopolitical risk, although, given the rather beleaguered position of the dollar these days, that’s not necessarily terribly surprising.

Of course, the fact that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave no fresh clues on the future path of U.S. monetary policy in her speech at Jackson Hole was important for the currency markets at a time that the yield curve continued to flattening, which has proven to be a bearish signal for the dollar. And that has been the case throughout the year.

Now, it could be helpful for investors not to misunderstand the meaning of what a flattening yield curve stands for while letting the dollar, at least for the time being, out of the picture.

Please keep in mind that a flattening yield curve does not mean per se a recession is imminent, but the yield curve is flattening because the economy is improving, which, by the way, should be helpful for stocks.

Besides all that, today in the United States we get the Conference Board consumer confidence data.

The complexities that swirl around such figures today are highly problematic. Media influences consumer confidence, which tends to overreact to underlying economic trends anyway. Political bias can easily creep into sentiment data and the unusually polarized nature of politics in the United States today, makes that a more potent threat than normal.

The U.S. labor market’s strength, which should be confirmed in Friday’s employment situation numbers, should add support to the Conference Board consumer confidence numbers, but the signal of confidence data does remain very noisy.

In the global picture we have the mid-cycle nature of the global economy on display today with the revised French GDP data coming in unrevised in the second quarter, which was in line with the flash estimate. Total French output expanded 0.5 percent versus the January-March period and so matched that period's rate. However, annual growth was trimmed a tick to 1.7 percent.

The French economy is performing a little bit better than trend at the moment and the revision confirms that this “relative” strength is continuing.

This is part of the Euro area that is performing better than trend this year.

In my opinion, this year is as good as it gets in terms of Euro area growth. So, investors should better not get too over-optimistic.

Euro area performance is in turn part of a global story of simultaneous if not perhaps synchronized growth. Simultaneous because most OECD economies are growing better this year than last year, but not perhaps synchronized because the growth remains domestic in nature and domestic in terms of stimulus.

A single GDP data point is hardly enough to build an investment case however. This is part of a pattern that is greeting Northern Hemisphere investors as they return from their summer lull.

The underlying fundamentals remain relatively good. There is very little prospect of a significant economic downturn or recession in the next year.

The typical triggers of an economic downturn, which are:

  • policy error or
  • an economic bubble that has to burst

are notably absent right now.

Etienne "Hans" Parisis is a Belgian-born bank economist who has advised global billionaires and governments on the financial markets and international investments. Parisis is based in Panama City, Panama.

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North Korea apparently continues unabated its missile program by firing a missile over Japan and risks once again "verbal" fire and fury. The financial markets have not, as yet, shown much interest in this with the exception of the currency markets where we have seen the...
North Korea, Euro area, markets, Japan
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2017-02-29
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 11:02 AM
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