Creating a market strategy for the end of 2019
When December arrives and trading is quiet, market strategists come up with their wildest predictions for the year ahead. Disclaimer: they don’t actually expect all of them to be right.
But 2019 is proving to be bizarre for traders and some of those calls are actually coming true. Of the eight “financial-market surprises” published by Standard Chartered Plc, two have effectively materialized, while three more still remain possible.
- The Federal Reserve cutting interest rates (Done so twice, with another one priced in)
- The European Central Bank restarting quantitative easing (By 20 billion euros per month from November)
Still in Play:
- The U.S. and China reach an agreement to weaken the dollar (Officials looking at rolling out currency pact)
- The U.S. Treasury tries to sell 50-year bonds (May do so next year if there is appetite)
- The U.K. faces a hard Brexit and the pound falls to parity with the dollar (Talks still currently taking place, though optimism is sparse)
- Hong Kong abandons its dollar currency peg (Traders including Hayman Capital Management’s Kyle Bass are betting unrest will spur capital flight, but it hasn’t happened)
- OPEC breaks up and Brent crude falls to US$25 a barrel (Supply deficit is at its widest level in years)
- Japan monetizes the national debt, the yen climbs to 80 per dollar (JPMorgan sees the yen as the “only cheap recessionary hedge” remaining)
Standard Chartered aren’t the only ones who had a punt. Saxo Bank A/S published their “10 Outrageous Predictions” for 2019 in December, including one that called a German recession. By most accounts, Europe’s largest economy may be in one already. There is no sign of some of the others -- including a solar flare creating chaos and a global transportation tax.
Neither bank predicted a US$17 trillion pile of negative-yielding debt -- bonds guaranteed to lose investors’ money if held to maturity -- a meltdown in the U.S. repo market, or a drone attack on a Saudi oil facility. But hey, you can’t get everything right.