Undue tightening by the US Federal Reserve could set off a perfect storm of recessionary effects
Global stock and bond markets have been all over the place of late. Rarely have investors been so lacking in conviction. Confusion as to future direction reigns, and with good reason after the spectacular returns of recent years.
For how much longer can stock markets keep delivering? Is there another recession on the way, or to the contrary, is growth likely to surprise positively, underpinning current valuations? Economic turning points are never easy to spot, but right now it’s proving harder than ever.
The immediate cause of all this uncertainty is, however, fairly obvious. It’s the US Federal Reserve again, and quite how far it is prepared to go with the present tightening cycle. Few expect policy makers to act at this week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.
Even so, a number of its members have once again been making hawkish noises, and another rise in rates by the end of the year is widely anticipated.
Indeed, it is on the face of it quite hard to see how the Fed can avoid such action. Already at 2.3pc, core inflation in the US is trending higher. The US labour market continues to tighten, and money growth, for some a key lead indicator, is strong.
This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By JEREMY WARNER, The Telegraph ‘ September 22, 2016.