The rise of Chelsea and Man City shows that it takes a lot of money to break into the Champions League elite, but once you're there, it creates a virtuous circle. The same is true for inflation. There is a self-reinforcing loop of high inflation expectations, wages and prices. But the 2014 oil shock looks to have knocked the US and Japan out. Consumers' inflation expectations remain stubbornly low.
History is littered with episodes where the rules of economics were declared dead, only for these rules to return with a vengeance. You remember the ‘end of the business cycle’ debate in the late 90s or the ‘great moderation’ paradigm of the early 00s? Despite these precedents and despite overwhelming evidence that large debt build-ups can end in tears, we believe a Chinese financial crisis is not that likely over the next 2-3 years.
As deflationary disappointment continues, we think that structural drivers are making it hard to generate wage inflation. As central banks all try to bluff it out, I take a tour of the pressures facing the US, UK and Europe and what we think it means for asset classes.
Some of the clouds over Europe’s political landscape have disappeared after the French presidential election resulted in a market-friendly outcome. So has the Swiss franc now lost its value as a Eurozone malaise hedge, or are there other reasons to hold the currency?
Inflationary disappointment doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Alongside our new political paradigm, we see the search for inflation as a key driver for central bank policy and markets for the rest of 2017. I tie those two market themes together using the title from one of my favourite songs, only for host Mark Barton to catch me out by revealing the hidden link live on air.