THE CURTAIN RISES: 2016 MARKETPLACE THEATERS © Leo Haviland January 4, 2016

Shakespeare proclaims in “As You Like It” (Act II, Scene VII):

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players”.


As the 2016 international economic (and political) drama commences, the worldwide economy not only is sluggish, but also feebler than most forecasters assert. International real GDP, as well as that in the United States, has a notable chance of slowing down further than many expect (the International Monetary Fund predicts real global output will increase 3.6 percent in calendar 2016; “World Economic Outlook”, Chapter 1, Table 1.1).

The ability of the Federal Reserve Board, European Central Bank, Bank of England, Bank of Japan, China’s central bank, and their friends to engineer their versions of desirable outcomes via highly accommodative policies has diminished. Beloved schemes such as quantitative easing (money printing) and yield repression and related rhetoric are becoming less influential. Ongoing significant political divisions and conflicts (America’s troubling carnival represents only one example) likely will make it challenging for political leaders to significantly promote substantial (adequate) growth.

The failure of longer term US government yields such as the UST 10 year note to rise substantially despite the Fed’s recent modest boost in the Federal Funds rate represents a noteworthy warning sign regarding American and global financial prospects. Note also very low sovereign yields in much of the Eurozone (picture Germany); Japanese government rates remain near the ground floor. However, yields of less creditworthy debt instruments, whether sovereign or corporate, probably will continue to climb in 2016, another ominous indication.

For the near term at least, the broad real trade-weighted US dollar probably will remain strong. Emerging marketplace equities and commodities “in general” likely will persist in bear trends. What does the rally of the dollar above its late August/September 2015 heights signal? What does the collapse of benchmark commodity indices such as the broad GSCI beneath their late August 2015 lows portend? These warn not only of worldwide economic weakness, but also of further declines in the S+P 500. Note that emerging marketplace stocks hover fairly closely to their 2015 depths. The S+P 500 probably will remain in a sideways to bearish trend.

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The Curtain Rises- 2016 Marketplace Theaters (1-4-16)