TIPS fell 0.3% vs. a 1.5% gain in Treasurys. The average TIPS yield rose 41 bp to 0.40%, while Treasurys slipped 4 bp to 2.03%. The average TIPS spread narrowed to 163 bp from 208 bp. Poor relative performance was due to rising short-term rates, decreasing inflation expectations and declining long-term Treasury yields.
Though Japan’s experience since the early 1990s provides many lessons, policymakers in the rest of the world have failed miserably in heeding them. Time and again, major central banks – especially the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England – have been quick to follow the Bank of Japan's disastrous lead.
Despite some uncertainties, economic improvements in developed and emerging markets have supported a positive mood across both equity and fixed income this year.
Once an adapter to globalization, China is increasingly a driver of it. The Next China is becoming a Global China, upping the ante on its connection to an increasingly integrated world – and creating a new set of risks and opportunities.
Slowly but surely, a bruised and battered global economy now appears to be shaking off its deep post-2008 malaise. But this hardly means that the world is returning to normal; on the contrary, the global growth dynamic has undergone an extraordinary transformation during the last nine years.
With markets reacting in part to geopolitical events, it’s hard not to be distracted by news headlines. To help sift through some of the noise, several of our senior investment leaders recently participated in a roundtable discussion of the events shaping the global markets today, the implications for investors and where they see potential opportunities ahead.
Another growth scare has come and gone for the Chinese economy, with export growth up strongly in the first two months of 2017. For the country's policymakers, the challenge now is to stay focused on executing their domestic strategy, rather than seeking to replace the US at the center of the global system.
In an ideal world, it would be nice to streamline, simplify, and even reduce tax and regulatory burdens on US businesses. But business is not the weak link in the US economic chain; workers are, because economic returns have shifted dramatically from the providers of labor to the owners of capital over the past 25 years.
The way investors think about emerging markets has been evolving—along with the markets themselves. One thing we at Templeton Emerging Markets Group emphasize is that one can’t consider emerging markets as one asset class; the opportunities are very differentiated between regions, countries and markets, with different fundamentals shaping them.
After the run-up in the fourth quarter, both TIPS and comparable maturity Treasurys delivered positive returns during the first month of 2017. According to my estimates, TIPS posted a monthly return of 0.7%, modestly better than the 0.3% return on comparable maturity Treasurys.