The news coming out of the July Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting was a reference in the statement that the Federal Reserve expected to begin to implement its balance sheet normalization program “relatively soon,” which we (along with many market participants) took to mean at the upcoming September meeting.
A review of last month’s market-moving events across countries and asset classes
Following another underwhelming U.S. CPI report, it’s now entirely possible that core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) inflation – the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure, currently at 1.5% – will end the year at 1.3%, a far cry from the central bank’s 2% target.
Another underwhelming rise in the U.S. core Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported on Friday increases the chances that Federal Reserve policymakers use the September meeting to signal they plan to abstain from additional interest rate hikes until next year.
Over the next 12 to 24 months, we expect that Asia, led by China, will become a far more significant part of the global capital markets – and global investment portfolios.
Outcomes from the most recent state budget season, which concluded for most U.S. states on 30 June, underscore the need for caution among municipal bond investors.
With critical policy pivots on the horizon, investors should approach asset allocation with full appreciation for downside risk and stay focused on relative value and security selection.
Earlier this year, Argentina, the Czech Republic and Uruguay joined the bellwether benchmark for the asset class, JPMorgan GBI-EM Global Diversified, taking the total to 18 countries. China, Egypt and another three countries may enter the index next year. The inclusions will make the EM local debt asset class much larger, deeper and more liquid.
Over the past quarter century, large and ever-larger companies have significantly increased their share of total intra-industry sales across a majority of industries. These superstar firms – including Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet’s Google (known collectively as FAANG) – increasingly dominate their respective industries in terms of revenues, profits and stock market capitalization. The winner these days may not take all, but most.
After Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his Cabinet on 3 August, the big question is whether his administration can regain public support. In just the last two months, Abe's public approval ratings have plunged to around 30% – low enough to raise red flags.