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Central Banks

Macroeconomic Forecasts & Protests across the Developing World

Macroeconomic Forecasts & Protests across the Developing World

Prospects of Recessions and GDP Growth

We estimate that there will be two quarters with negative growth for the next 15 months. Inflation will exceed wage gains and will reduce real spending. However, a few negative quarters are not enough to claim that we have a recession.

What stops us from announcing a recession is:

  • The US strong labor market
  • Remarkably stable retail spending
  • Services sector that is surprisingly immune to interest rate changes.

JP Morgan says recession is not its base case, risky asset classes could recover:

  • we do not see (a recession) as base case over the next 12 months
  • In fact, we see global growth accelerating ... to 3.1% in the second half
  • and inflation declining to 4.2%
  • which would allow central banks to pivot and avoid producing an economic downturn

Prospects of Inflation

Powell will probably raise rates to 4%, a mere 300 basis point increase. Higher rates will be a more important matter to Wall Street, not to the Main Street. Inflation will fall back to 3%-4% once current shortage in energy and supply chains will be over. We estimated that inflation will curb in the beginning of 2023, all that is needed is prices to stop rising and an equilibrium between demand and offers.

History, indicates that long-term real rates ought to be in the neighborhood of the economy’s long-term real growth rate potential.

 

Stock Market Forecast

Regrettably, this long-term bull market is now over because interest rates will not fall in the short term and second, we will see lower earnings per share. The resulting decline in the earnings per share growth rate will shock markets. We will have a lot of companies with negative earnings growth surprises. Last decade companies have delighted investors with impressive earnings per share, but that scenario will not be repeated in the future. Investors must have a proactive investing style or to invest in instruments with large dividends. Passively investing style is dead, you can forget index style investing.

When we read our Reuters terminal last week, we were negatively surprised to see how food supply and princes affected the people of developing countries. Unfortunately, our prediction from last year has come true and we have a food crisis (just read article from November 2021 https://topfxinvest.com/blog/we-anticipate-the-food-crisis-in-2022 )

Last Month we had protests in emergent countries.

Greece

Thousands of Greeks protested in Athens against the surge in energy and food prices. Greece's annual CPI Surged to 8.9% in March, hitting its highest level in 30 years.

 

Cyprus

Protesters throw the milk in presidential palace because of high prices and production issues.

 

Chile

Students rallied against the government because of high food prices demanding price control.

 

Tunisia

Basic food (Milk Eggs Poultry) prices were raised in May and were followed by large protests.

 

Argentina

Thousands of farmers protested in Buenos Aires against President Alberto Fernandez, because of policies to contain food prices. Farmers need to pay more for animal feed and to sell at a lower price.

 

Kenya

May 17 in Nairobi was held a demonstration against the government because of cost of living and high prices of basic products

 

Iran

2000 Pensioners protest peacefully in June against soaring living costs, according to Aljazeera and social media reports. The government raised prices of some basic goods such as cooking oil, floor and meat.

 

Peru

Peru ruling class sent an army in the streets to clear road blockades of activists. Protests were launched because of rising costs of food and fuel prices.

 

Indonesia

Indonesian farmers have rallied against palm oil export ban that caused a price drop of 75% on palm oil.

 

Guinea & Sudan

Protesters were killed by the armies according to Reuter’s reporters in May. Sudan Currency lost more than 30% last year and prices for fuel and food are growing at 20%.

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What are the Elites planning for the Future at Davos this year?

What are the Elites planning for the Future at Davos this year?

Few days ago, most influential people in the world (managers of Big Companies, top academics, leaders in main stream media, central bankers) are gathering to find paths to solve the issues on humanity crisis. Between 22 May and 26 May, Davos hosted World Economic Forum. Davos is an "invitation only" event for the "elite”. Davos it’s in essence a festivity of the ruling class. Here, the new macroeconomic trend will be set for this world, trend that will last for decades from now.

I’m not a big fan of conspiracies, but the discussions at Davos will become policies next years and we can check few strong examples:

  • “Zero interest rates policy”
  • “Mass people migration”
  • “The Abolition of Cash”
  • “Launching Electronic Currencies”

What is it about at Davos this year?

One of the main topics discussed was population migration between continents. Today, the main threat for the European Economies is the population decline, while the main issue for African continent is overpopulation & famine. Migrants coming to Europe today are not attracted by opportunities, like Golds Rush few centuries ago in US, but are attracted by: free medical services, free food for social cases, exceptional living expenses, Social Houses.

Food crisis that is coming in the next year because of the Russia conflicts with Ukraine, will determine a Mass Migration from Africa to Europe. Food shortage and how to solve this was the main topic discussed this year at Davos.

There was a massive surge of migrants to Europe in 2015. But that was just the beginning of what’s coming the next years. What we’re talking about here is the migration of millions of people of different languages, different races, different religions, different cultures, and different modes of living. Such a migration can only destroy the European culture and you can check the history back of what happened 1600 years ago in the Roman Empire, considering the migration of Germanic tribes.

A snapshot of food prices today, price are at all time high

corn futures price graph

I don’t want to beat the horses to much with people migration because other topics are also interesting, like MMT (Modern Monetary Theories). MMT means unlimited creation of paper cash to finance what governments want. This new modern economic theory must be implemented because Governments are bankrupted. Just check the US, UK, France, Spain balance sheets and debt to GDP ratio to understand how things are working now.

Countri list debt to gdp ratio

The Elite State (Davos participants) prefer to finance governments bail-out via inflation instead of imposing new taxes (it was the stock heaven in the last years).

For this reason, inflation is surging all around the Globe but they can hide this very well behind the conflict between Russia & Ukraine. Our countries economics problems are more profound than we think they are!

How to hedge against inflation?

Our options are:

  • Carbon Emissions Contracts
  • Precious Metals (good option right now)
  • Grains (too late)
  • REIT Stock’s
  • Energy Stocks (too late)
  • Other commodities like: Coffee, Cocoa, Sugar, Uranium

These days we find some options for stocks that are not in the sectors mentioned above and we want to bring you some examples here:

  • <DQ> DAQO NEW ENERGY CORP: Main producer of polysilicon to photovoltaic product manufactures in China. They have large clients in Europe, they also will open new factory in Mongolia, and the stock is extremely undervalued. 9 analysts revised their recommendations regarding this stock last month to upside.
  • <FSZ> Fiera Capital Corporation: The main investment Company in Canada that grow their AUM through acquisitions and offer 9% dividend yield.
  • <NRIM> Northrim BanCorp is the main bank in Alaska; we choose it because they have: low competition, 0 debts and Alaska will grow very much with the current Oil price.

Germany decision to stop Oil & Gas imports until the end of 2022 was in our opinion the main news at Davos and a BIG HIT to Russia. If Russia will not stop their “special operation” soon, we see this country evolving like the Nord Korea. India engagement to migrate on green energy is also a real big news that put a lot of pressure on China to change their policy also. India will change side to US-UK-EU alliance next years.

Job Market Evolution in years to come and how technology will change workers’ habits was also a good subject to meditate for the illuminated minds. Today, workers need to be more open to technologies, also work from home will be adopted by large companies. The main threat of productivity is the ability of workers to be self-organized, and discussions at Davos, was oriented on how to grow productivity in these new paradigm launched by COVID 19 disease.

Things are not going well and this was in agreement with all of the Davos participants, just to remind you some these week headlines:

  • UBS have cut their 2022 GDP forecast for China to 3% y/y, from 4.2%. Reminder, the official forecast out of China is for around 5.5%
  • JP Morgan downgrade China economic growth forecast, again. Project large contraction from -1.5% to -5.4%.
  • ECB President Lagarde has indicated July is likely lift off for rate hike
  • Fed's George says while inflation is clearly decelerating it could jump again

 

“With dedication to your freedom TopfxInvest”

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Thoughts about the 2022 Bear Market

Thoughts about the 2022 Bear Market

I have never seen in 20 years of investing such a confluence of fundamental factors pointing to a bear market scenario for stocks like this year.

First, it was the Covid19 pandemic outbreak that disrupted the supply chains, then it was the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. We’ve seen the Oil price ranging from 0 to 150$ starting with the middle of 2020 and up to 2022.

FED Chairman Jerome Powel finds that inflation it's non-transitory anymore and the EU representatives expect 7.8% inflation this year.

The war between Russia & Ukraine also fuelled the inflationary pressure. The FED already hiked the interest rate, but The European Central Bank kept its benchmark interest rates unchanged, Australia & UK also will hike it in the following months.

Stagflation is our base expectation for this year and we’re avoiding buying Growth Stocks. We’re looking forward to start investing at lower prices.

Our recommendation for January to keep the Dividends Stocks and sell the Growth Stocks was beneficial: from year to date: 

  • Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund ETF (VYM) it's up with 0.9%
  • Large Caps Ishares ETF (IVW) it's worst performing in red with -14%
  • SPDR SPX 500 (SPY) registers -7% from 1 January
  • Small Caps CORE (IJR) in red with -11,4
  • Large Cap Value Stocks (IVE) -1% near to Dividend stocks
  • Mid-Cap Value Stocks (IJJ) -3%
  • SPHB (high Beta) -9%

What is the thesis behind this evolution?

The theory is that elevated risk of high inflation and slower economic growth favour the shares with relatively rich payouts.

In a recent letter to JP Morgan Chase (JPM) shareholders, Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon warned that the war in Ukraine could collide with rising inflation to slow the domestic economic recovery and alter global alliances for decades to come.

"They (referencing Ukraine and inflation) present completely different circumstances than what we've experienced in the past-and their confluence may dramatically increase the risks ahead. While it is possible, and hopeful, that all of these events will have peaceful resolutions, we should prepare for the potential negative outcomes."

What are our expectations for this year:

  • 50 points rate hike in the EU in May, maybe 75 points if the Energy Sector and food prices will grow much more from now.
  • The global economy, even before the rate hikes, is deteriorating far faster than the consensus expects.
  • We expect consumer confidence to suffer in the months ahead and we will continue monitoring the indices.
  • Food shortages and rising food prices can converge to a possible global food crisis in 2023 and social uprisings.
  • Globalization is dead, and also the global cooperation between the major actors: USA, Russia and China for decades from now.
  • European inflation is at the worst levels in the last 75 years - and the ECB will have no choice but to raise rates faster than the consensus expects.
  • Europe will be in Recession from the middle of 2022.

In a recession environment nobody wins but what counts is who loses the least.

According to what we mentioned above, we prefer to invest in bank Indexes in Europe, because the banks are likely to benefit from a rate increase scenario that will happen this and in the next year, and we will avoid investment banks. We acquired the EXX ETF this month.

Also, we maintain our bullish view on grains and we consider now that it was a mistake to close some of our positions in March https://topfxinvest.com/blog/we-anticipate-the-food-crisis-in-2022 

We want to close some Energy positions with profits this year on CNQ, PBR, TPZ, PIF, ALVOF.

I see carbon Emissions contracts as a very good hedge against inflation and we acquired last month CARB ETF & NETZ stock in Canada.

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FED Rate Hike by 25 Basis Points on Yesterday

FED Rate Hike by 25 Basis Points on Yesterday

The rate hike was priced in and the market was on RISK-ON mode yesterday. Main question for the FED yesterday was, what percent will be the hike?  

To stop inflation 0.5% was a better idea to hike but voters don't want to risk a recession with actual conflict between Ukraine-Russia. The surprise is 7 hikes in the dot plot instead of 5 hikes. The 10 years yield is now lower versus pre-rate decision level. Regarding the war in Ukraine, Powell said “The implications for the U.S. economy are highly uncertain, but in the near term the invasion and related events are likely to create additional upward pressure on inflation and weigh on economic activity. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is causing tremendous human and economic hardship. The implications for the U.S. economy are highly uncertain, but in the near term the invasion and related events are likely to create additional upward pressure on inflation and weigh on economic activity.”

Regarding the US Economy, we have below stances: “Indicators of economic activity and employment have continued to strengthen. Job gains have been strong in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined substantially. Inflation remains elevated, reflecting supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic, higher energy prices, and broader price pressures.” You can read full press release here:


Surveying the FOMC's 18 members, the dot-plot showed that 12 FED officials predicted at least seven total rate hikes in 2022. On the high end, one FED official expects the central bank to raise rates above 3% during the year, from the level around 0.25% currently in force.

Please check below the dot plot below:

fed dot plot 15 March 12 of 18 saw 0.9% in 2022, 11 of 18 saw 1,9% into 2023 annual median at 1.6%. Median interest rates for 2024 is 2.1%

Macroeconomic implications:

Energy Financials Sectors will outperform, we consider that it's a good time to buy bank's stocks and sell High growth stocks like tech. Instead of a short term rebound for Nasdaq's & S&P500, we see down in the long run. I can't see inflation slowing down in the long term and 0.25 it's not enough to calm but the FED was forced by the actual Geopolitical climate.

Euro will be much weaker in the long run than the dollar. Unfortunately for the EU, in the Eurozone there are plenty of headwind that affect growth: price of energy, war between Ukraine & Russia.

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ECB Lagarde: See Inflation Higher 5,1% from 3,8%

ECB Lagarde: See Inflation Higher 5,1% from 3,8%

Today ECB meeting, The tone was somber, with repeated risks on lower growth and higher inflation. Risk apetite is down 👇 because Russia-Ukraine war. 

Inflation forecast:

  1.  2022 Inflation 5.1% instead 3.2% in december 
  2.  2023 2.1% vs 1.8%
  3.  2024 1.9% vs 1.8%

Most important conclusions from Lagarde meeting are:

  • Growth to remain weak in Q1
  • Growth revised down in near term
  • Energy costs pushed up Feb inflation 31% and prices have risen further
  • How long high prices will last is uncertain
  • Risks to the economic outlook have increased substantially and are tilted to the downside
  • We have risk of a loss of economic confidence
  • Path for rates will be determined by forward guidance

Conclusion according to Lagarde is  'highly uncertain'

Rate hike could come 'months after' or 'weeks after' the end of QE. Euro is forecast to be down in short term.

ECB-meeting-10march-EUR-chart

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Asian Indices go higher after China cuts it's rates

Asian Indices go higher after China cuts it's rates

China cuts Loan Prime Rates: 1 year to 3.7% (from 3.8%) & 5 year to 4.6% (from 4.65%)

The People's Bank of China cut its Medium-Term Lending Facility rate to 2.85%

  • from 2.95%
  • injected 700bn yuan with 500bn maturing
  • 1 year MLF
  • first cut since April of 2020

On the 7-day reverse repo today, rate cut to 2.1% from 2.2%

  • 100bn yuan injected today
  • 10bn yuan matured today

On Thursday this week, 20 January, we get 1 year and 5 year Loan Prime Rates set. 

A cut to the MLF will be seen as an indication the LPR rates too could see a cut.

Asian stock go higher after this Bank of China Move Nikkei +1% , Topix +0,89, Kospi +0,49, Hang Seng +2,38% 

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World Bank - Global GDP was cut from 4.3 to 4.1 but Stock still rise after Powel Testimony

World Bank - Global GDP was cut from 4.3 to 4.1 but Stock still rise after Powel Testimony

Ayhan Kose, director of the World Bank's said "There is a pronounced slowdown underway, ..... Policy support is being withdrawn and there is a multitude of risks ahead of us." 

The World Bank is out with its latest economic forecasts: 

  • Sees developed economies growing 3.8% vs 4.0% in June forecasts
  • 2021 global GDP forecast 5.5% vs 5.7% in June
  • Sees 2021 Japan GDP at 1.7% vs 2.9% in June
  • Sees 2022 Japan GDP at +2.9%
  • China forecast of 5.1% vs 5.4% prior
  • Sees 2022 US GDP +3.7% +4.2% prior
  • Sees 2023 global GDP at 3.2%
  • A surge in omicron that overwhelms healthcare systems could trim another 0.7 pp from growth

Stocks grow consistent  SPX +0.92 Nasdaq 1,47 after optimistic Powel discourse

  • The main thing we can do is foster a strong employment market, consistent with our inflation mandate
  • In order to get a long expansion, we need price stability
  • We will use our tools to bring inflation back down
  • There are great benefits of a tight labor market
  • It is really time for us to move away from emergency settings
  • Doing so should not have a negative impact on labor market
  • We're not seeing the progress on supply-side issues that we thought -- that all forecasters thought
  • Over time inflation will subside, but the question is how fast
  • Inflation will last until the middle of this year
  • Fed has not made any decisions on the timing of normalization
  • This year I expect the Fed will raise rates, end asset purchases and perhaps later this year allow the balance sheet to shrink
  • We're going to learn a lot about the path of inflation
  • It will take 2-4 meetings to work through balance sheet decision (4th meeting is June 15)
  • Expects to see some relief on supply side later this year; if not there's a risk of inflation becoming entrenched
  • We believed we would see material relief on the supply side

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