In wake of Trump win, focus may drift back to Fed and inflation
BENGALURU – After Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the US presidential election, investors may refocus in the coming week on the health of the world economy and any signs that years of rock-bottom interest rates and fiscal austerity are coming to an end.
Trump’s victory poses a major challenge to the conventional wisdom on the global economy, which for years has relied on brisker cross-border trade and migration flows for growth.
Apart from a nearly across-the-board rise in sovereign bond yields, however, the markets have so far mostly shrugged off the election result – despite previous fears of a meltdown in the event of victory for Trump, who espoused fiercely protectionist positions on trade in his campaign.
Everything is up for reassessment.
“It will take time to gauge the global economic consequences of Donald Trump’s surprise victory,” JP Morgan’s chief global economist Bruce Kasman wrote in a note.
“Forthcoming policy changes are likely to generate growth cross-currents, but they should reinforce the tilt toward global reflation.” Trump’s proposals represent both a negative supply shock from curbs on trade and immigration as well as a positive demand shock from new fiscal spending, he added.
With the US economy close to full employment – the jobless rate was 4.9 percent in October – Trump’s election promise to cut taxes and upgrade the country’s aging infrastructure could provide a big boost to both growth and inflation.
Official US data on Thursday will likely show consumer price index inflation picked up slightly last month, up 0.4 percent on the month and 1.6 percent on the same month last year. Core inflation, which strips out food and energy, is expected to hit 2.2 percent.
That follows pre-election news of a pickup in average pay growth to 2.8 percent, the highest since June 2009. Retail sales data due out on Tuesday are expected to have lost a little steam last month.
Sovereign bond markets are already out of the blocks in pricing in a rise in inflation expectations in the United States followed by the rest of the world.
The 10-year US yield US10YT=RR rose to 2.15 percent, almost 30 basis points above its levels around 1.86 percent just before the US election on Tuesday. The surge has strengthened the dollar against the euro and yen, which would ultimately help raise import costs in the euro zone and Japan.
If inflation moves higher from here, supported by fiscal stimulus and rising energy prices, the current back-up in bond yields across the developed world is set to continue, possibly suggesting an end to a three-decade trend of falling yields.
It is still early days, however. Starting on Monday, it will become clearer how industrialized economies such as the euro zone, Germany, Italy, and Japan fared in the third quarter – before the U.S. political earthquake.
Reuters polls show growth largely held steady in the euro zone despite a slowdown in Germany, and picked up slightly in Japan. Inflation was probably 0.5 percent in October in the euro area, similar to a preliminary reading but above recent lows.
The gradual rise in inflation in recent months will be welcome news for the European Central Bank which, after printing more than a trillion euros since March 2015 and cutting deposit rates to -0.4 percent, is fast seen running out of policy tools.
The ECB’s Governing Council next meets on Dec. 8 to decide policy. Economists expect it to extend its asset purchase program beyond the planned end date of March 2017.