GLOBAL ECONOMICS AND POLITICS
Leo Haviland provides clients with original, provocative, cutting-edge fundamental supply/demand and technical research on major financial marketplaces and trends. He also offers independent consulting and risk management advice.
Haviland’s expertise is macro. He focuses on the intertwining of equity, debt, currency, and commodity arenas, including the political players, regulatory approaches, social factors, and rhetoric that affect them. In a changing and dynamic global economy, Haviland’s mission remains constant – to give timely, value-added marketplace insights and foresights.
Leo Haviland has three decades of experience in the Wall Street trading environment. He has worked for Goldman Sachs, Sempra Energy Trading, and other institutions. In his research and sales career in stock, interest rate, foreign exchange, and commodity battlefields, he has dealt with numerous and diverse financial institutions and individuals. Haviland is a graduate of the University of Chicago (Phi Beta Kappa) and the Cornell Law School.
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“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.” T.S. Eliot’s poem, “Burnt Norton”
Since summer 2016, the marketplace yield trends for government 10 year notes of the United States and many of its key trading partners generally have resembled each other. Given today’s interconnected global economy, the crucial role of the United States within it, and the roughly similar central bank policy strategies for these nations, this pattern probably will continue.
Over the past three and one-half years, at times some moderate divergence appeared within that group. For example, yield highs for China’s 10 year government note (11/27/17’s 4.04 percent) and the German Bund (2/8/18’s .81 percent) preceded America’s critical yield top on 10/9/18 at 3.26 percent. But even when yield highs (lows) occurred at different times for some sovereigns relative to others, directional shifts in yield for the entire group tended to happen around the same time. Thus China’s 9/21/18 interim high at 3.71 percent and Germany’s on 10/10/18 at .58pc align with the UST yield pinnacle on 10/9/18.
The United States Treasury 10 year note yield completed a triple bottom during this era. Recall 7/5/12’s 1.38 percent trough. Then see 7/6/16’s 1.32 percent major low and 9/3/19’s 1.43pc. September 2019’s UST depth probably commenced an extended period of rising government (as well as other) interest rates for America and its important trading partners “in general”. Widespread and determined devotion by leading central banks to a gospel of sufficient inflation (the Federal Reserve’s two percent target is a key benchmark) and adequate GDP growth (and low unemployment) encourages this. Given America’s great importance within the world economy, its large current national debt and looming massive future fiscal deficits tend to propel UST interest rates (and thus American corporate yields) upward, and thereby help to raise government yields of many of its global trading partners.
Current central bank caution (including maintaining some yield repression and quantitative easing/money printing) may inhibit a rapid and large yield ascent for the US Treasury 10 year and its companions. In addition, rate climbs for the assorted 10 year government notes will not all necessarily be the same in distance or speed terms. And fearful “flights to quality” at times can depress government debt yields of “safe haven” nations such as America and Germany. For America’s 10 year Treasury note, significant resistance exists around two percent.
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Ringing in the New Year- US and Other Government Note Trends (1-6-20)
In “The Age of Anxiety”, the poet W.H. Auden remarks: “Gradually for each in turn the darkness begins to dissolve and their vision to take shape.”
OVERVIEW AND CONCLUSION
Since summer 2016, using the 10 year central government note as a benchmark, global interest rate yields for leading nations “in general” gradually have risen. The United States has been the key nation propelling “overall” debt yields upward. Also since summer 2016, marketplace trend twists and turns from the price and time perspective for this assortment of nations usually has been fairly close.
Relatively strong American economic growth and tightening Federal Reserve Board policies have played important roles in the worldwide rate increase process. The reduction of central bank yield repression is and will remain a crucial factor underpinning the long run yield increase trend. Even the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan, which have ongoing lax monetary policies, suggest they eventually will become slightly less accommodative.
Significant global credit demand in an environment where overall global debt (government, corporate, household) already is substantial also is an important element tending to boost global yields. The international government debt level as a percentage of GDP nowadays is much greater than at the advent of the 2007-09 global economic disaster. For many countries, including America, there is little likelihood for notable government debt reduction anytime soon.
Expanding United States federal budget deficits resulting from December 2017’s exciting tax “reform” legislation probably have encouraged the ascent in American yields. Given the importance of America in the interconnected global economy, the US national budget deficit and debt level trends as a percentage of GDP not only will continue to generate US Treasury rate climbs over the long run, but also will assist a global upswing in yields. America’s tax reform scheme exacerbated the already massive long run federal budget problem (big deficits alongside entitlement spending, etc.; higher demand for credit). By helping to push American US government interest rates higher, the tax reform magnifies the country’s monumental debt challenge.
Despite the broadly similar rising yield trend direction and convergence links (connections, associations) across the central (federal) government note marketplaces since summer 2016, the pattern of course is not always perfect. Also, as time passes, divergence within this “overall upward trend” may emerge. For example, whereas the US Treasury 10 year note’s yield high to date since summer 2016 is 10/9/18’s 3.26 percent, the German Bund (81 percent on 2/8/18) and China’s 10 year central government note (11/22/17’s 4.04pc) attained their highs many months earlier. In addition, rate climbs are not all necessarily the same in distance or speed terms. For countries engaged in substantial yield repression, the advance may be fairly small and slow for quite a while.
Fearful “flights to quality” occasionally may inspire yield falls in so-called safe haven government debt instruments issued by nations such as America, Germany, and Japan. Central banks likely will become (or remain) highly accommodative if the global recovery appears seriously threatened. The reality of or omens pointing to feebler than expected (desired) GDP growth (in conjunction with other variables) may spark such yield declines, and perhaps also induce renewed accommodative central bank actions (or at least soothing rhetoric from such earnest guardians).
In the current marketplace situation, additional notable erosion in the prices of global stock marketplace benchmarks from their calendar 2018 summits might also inspire relatively significant retreats in debt yields. For example, a decline in the S+P 500 of nearly twenty percent or more from its autumn 2018 peak could connect with government yield declines (and perhaps with the emergence of central bank propaganda or action to rally stock prices).
The major (long run) trend for US government interest rate yields, and for other nations around the globe, probably remains up. Despite tumultuous twists and turns, the long run upward march in government interest rate yields which commenced around the middle of 2016 likely will remain intact. The UST 10 year note’s 3.26 percent high yield will be exceeded.
However, the declines in global stock marketplaces (especially the S+P 500’s slump since its September 2018/October 2018 peak), especially if interpreted alongside the failure of German and Chinese 10 year government notes to establish yield new yield highs close in time to those in the UST (and other important countries), warn that a temporary halt to (or noteworthy slowdown in) the overall global pattern of rising government rates (including in America) is being established. Some yield declines in government notes may be rather dramatic. However, based upon a perspective of a long run extending for several years from now, such yield descents probably will be temporary.
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Twists, Turns, and Turmoil- US and Other Government Note Trends (11-12-18)
The major bull charge by the Japanese 10 year government bond (JGB) to lower yields probably ended in late July 2012, or will do so soon. The Japanese Yen’s long run bull trend (effective exchange rate basis, Bank of England data) likewise probably ceased in midsummer 2012.
Four significant inflationary variables have or likely will entangle with the massive Japanese easing to date. First, major central banks around the world via various methods have engaged in extravagant easing. Consider the money printing (QE1, 2, 3), low interest rates, and other accommodative weapons of the United States Federal Reserve. The economic wizards at the Fed have heralded they will not change to a tightening course anytime soon. Don’t forget the European Central Bank’s gradual even if roundabout surrender to easy money principles (especially over the last year). Recall the generous central bankers of China, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. In the interconnected global economy, the more widespread and sustained the money printing and related policies, the more likely that there eventually will be upward price moves in consumer prices (and similar measures) as well as interest rate increases.
A more specific focus on the Japanese situation reveals the three other considerations. For starters, the Japanese business community (exporters especially) has become extremely upset (not merely worried) by the Yen’s sustained strength. This dismay increased due to a recent noteworthy GDP slump. Business interests (Japan, Inc.) significantly influence Japanese political policies. Second, Japan likely will enshrine a new governing political party after its December 2012 elections. These incoming political leaders apparently seek an even easier monetary policy than presently exists.
The third relates to the towering Japanese government debt and ongoing substantial budget deficits. Most political pundits and marketplace mavens bemoan the looming United States fiscal cliff. Japan, unlike America, wins praise as being a nation of savers (creditors) rather than debtors (borrowers). However, the Japanese government, unlike its citizens, does not incarnate thriftiness.
The current and medium term Japanese fiscal outlook, even without a change in government policies, is no cause for complacency. The Japanese political (economic) establishment, regardless of party, engages in brinkmanship, for it has shown little inclination to subdue that substantial deficit spending and massive and growing government debt. Compare the United States awesome near term and long run federal debt vista. Thus Japan probably already is fairly close to the border of a fiscal crisis. Read the rest of this entry »
Burning passion for another is not the only love which makes us shake. When fear of losing substantial sums creeps up on numerous money lovers in intertwined financial playgrounds, both the players and their marketplaces can quiver violently.
Many pundits define a bear marketplace as a 20 percent slide from a noteworthy price top. Though the S+P 500 nosedived about 20 percent from its 5/2/11 high around 1371 to its 8/9/11 low near 1100, it then rallied sharply. On 8/9/11, the United States 10 year Treasury note touched yield lows of just over two percent. This matched the bottom achieved on 12/18/08 during the previous “flight to quality” panic in the (still-running) economic crisis that erupted in 2007. Given this equity and debt support, will things calm down much? No. The economic and political scenery has not sufficiently changed. Relationships within and between various financial arenas and their variables probably will vary to some extent as time passes, but the current entangled key financial factors will remain powerful, volatile, and intertwined. Although there will be occasional intermissions, turmoil in and between key equity, interest rate, currency, and commodity theaters therefore will not cease anytime soon.
Why place blind faith in the 2013 low rate policy, for the Fed confesses it changes its viewpoints? In addition, consider the Fed’s policy track record relative to its “original” expectations. Economic growth has been considerably lower than the Fed “had expected”. The Fed “now expects” a slower pace of recovery. Just as the Fed this month adjusted its policy by speaking of low Fed Funds through mid-2013, it eventually may alter its present course. Historians recall that the Fed’s quantitative easing floods likewise represented policy changes due to marketplace developments. Besides, how accurate were the Fed’s economic forecasts in 2007 and 2008, at the dawn and during the early stages of the acceleration of the economic crisis? So as Fed expectations change, so may its actions, whether on rates, quantitative easing, or otherwise.
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Furious Financial Fluctuations (8-15-11)