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Uncertainty Grips Markets as Optimism Wanes

By Tobias Adrian Market sentiment has deteriorated since earlier this year amid still elevated financial vulnerabilities and mounting concerns about risks…

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This article was originally published by IMF Blog

By Tobias Adrian

Market sentiment has deteriorated since earlier this year amid still elevated financial vulnerabilities and mounting concerns about risks to inflation.

Amid the prolonged and painful pandemic, risks to global financial stability have remained contained—so far. But with economic optimism fading, and with financial vulnerabilities intensifying, this is a time for careful policy calibration. To an unprecedented degree, the world’s central banks, finance ministries, and international financial institutions have asserted—for a year and a half—policy support for economic growth. Now they must craft strategies that safely approach the next stage of monetary and fiscal policy action.

The sense of optimism that had propelled markets in the first half of the year is at risk of fading.

The world’s systemically important central banks know that any unintended consequences of their actions could put growth at risk—and could, conceivably, lead to abrupt adjustments in the world’s financial markets. Uncertainty is especially intense because of the persistent pandemic-stricken atmosphere where society confronts the challenges inherent in “the three Cs”: COVID-19, crypto, and climate change, as discussed in our latest Global Financial Stability Report.

Fading optimism

Massive monetary and fiscal policy support for the economy in 2020 and 2021 helped limit the economic contraction that began at the start of the pandemic and that—for much of this year—supported a strong economic rebound. In many advanced economies, financial conditions have eased since the initial months of the pandemic. Nonetheless, the sense of optimism that had propelled markets in the first half of the year is at risk of fading.

Investors have become increasingly worried about the economic outlook, amid ever-greater uncertainty about the strength of the recovery. Uneven vaccine access, along with the mutations of the COVID-19 virus, have led to a resurgence of infections—fueling concerns about more divergent economic prospects across countries. Inflation readings have been above expectations in many countries. And new uncertainties in some major economies have put markets on alert. Those uncertainties are triggered by financial vulnerabilities that could increase downside risks, surging commodity prices, and policy uncertainty.

The deterioration in market sentiment since the April 2021 Global Financial Stability Report resulted in a significant decline in global long-term nominal yields in the summer, driven by falling real rates, reflecting concerns about long-term-growth prospects. In late September, however, investor anxiety about inflationary pressures pushed yields higher as price pressures then started to be seen as potentially more persistent than initially anticipated in some countries—entirely reversing the earlier declines.

If investors, at some point, reassess abruptly the economic and policy outlook, financial markets could endure a sudden repricing of risk—and that repricing, if sustained, could interact with underlying vulnerabilities, leading to a tightening of financial conditions. This could put economic growth at risk.

Risks also bear close monitoring in other key areas. Crypto asset markets are growing rapidly and crypto asset prices remain highly volatile. Financial stability risks are not yet systemic in the crypto ecosystem, but risks should be closely monitored, given the global monetary implications and the inadequate operational and regulatory frameworks in most jurisdictions—especially in emerging market and developing economies. Likewise, as the world continues to seek ways to speed up the transition to a low-greenhouse-gas economy in order to avoid the negative economic and financial stability outcomes associated with climate change, a promising opportunity is emerging in the financial sector. While assets under management in climate-themed investment funds remain relatively small, inflows have surged, and there is a promise of cheaper funding costs for climate-friendly firms, as well as greater climate stewardship by funds.

A not-so-easy trade-off

Amid still easy financial conditions overall, our analysis finds that financial vulnerabilities continue to be elevated in several sectors—but are masked, in part, by the massive policy stimulus. Policymakers are now confronted with a challenging trade-off: They must continue to provide near-term support to the global economy, even as they must simultaneously try to avoid the buildup of medium-term financial-stability risks. Managing this trade-off is a key challenge confronting policymakers.

A prolonged period of extremely easy financial conditions during the pandemic—which certainly has been needed to sustain the economic recovery—has allowed overly stretched asset valuations to persist. If that overstretch continues, it may, in turn, intensify financial vulnerabilities. Some warning signs—for example, increased financial risk-taking, as well as rising fragilities in the nonbank financial institutions sector—point to a deterioration in the underlying foundations of financial stability. If left unchecked, such vulnerabilities may persist into the longer term and become structural issues.

Policy action

Policymakers will need action plans that guard against unintended consequences. Monetary and fiscal policy support should be more targeted and tailored to country-specific circumstances, given the varying pace of the recovery across countries. Central banks will need to provide clear guidance about their future approach to monetary policy, aiming to avoid an unwarranted or abrupt tightening of financial conditions. Monetary authorities should remain vigilant, and if price pressures turn out to be more persistent than anticipated, act decisively to avoid an unmooring of inflation expectations. Fiscal support can appropriately shift toward more targeted measures and be tailored to country-specific characteristics.

Policymakers should take early action and tighten selected macroprudential tools to target pockets of elevated vulnerabilities. This is critical for addressing the potential unintended consequences of their unprecedented measures, given the possible need for prolonged policy support to ensure a sustainable recovery.

Policymakers in emerging and frontier markets should, where possible, begin to rebuild fiscal buffers and implement structural reforms. While facing several domestic challenges (higher inflation and fiscal concerns), some of those economies remain exposed to the risk of a sudden tightening in external financial conditions.

In a context of higher price pressures, investors are now pricing in a rapid and fairly sharp tightening cycle for many emerging markets, although the increase in inflation is expected to be temporary. Rebuilding buffers and implementing enduring reforms to boost economic growth prospects will be pivotal to protect against the risk of capital-flow reversals and an abrupt increase in financing costs.

 

 

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Economics

US markets scale fresh highs on upbeat earnings, housing data

S P 500 and Dow Jones closed at record highs for the second consecutive day on Tuesday October 26 while Nasdaq rallied as quarterly results kept the…

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S&P 500 and Dow Jones closed at record highs for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, October 26, while Nasdaq rallied as quarterly results kept the markets in high spirits.

The S&P was up 0.18% to 4,574.79. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.04% to 35,756.88. The NASDAQ Composite Index gained 0.06% to 15,235.71, and the small-cap Russell 2000 was down 0.72% to 2,296.08.

Traders were further encouraged by the Commerce Department’s positive economic data, which showed new home sales jumped 14% to 800,000 units in September, the highest level since March. However, higher home prices still remained a major worry.

Energy and utility stocks led gains on the S&P 500 index, while industrials and communication services stocks were the bottom movers. Nine of the 11 sectors of the index stayed in the positive territory.

General Electric Company (GE) stock rose 2.19% in intraday trading after reporting its third-quarter earnings. Its adjusted profits were 57 cents per share, above the analysts’ estimates of 43 cents a share. However, its revenue fell by 1% YoY to US$18.4 billion in the quarter.

Shares of United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) were up 7.38% after reporting better-than-expected results. Its revenue increased by 9.2% YoY to US$23.2 billion in Q3, FY21.

Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) stock tumbled 12.48% after it trimmed its revenue forecast. Its net sales fell to US$16.02 billion in Q3 from US$16.49 billion in the year-ago quarter. In addition, it lowered its revenue forecast for FY2021 due to supply woes.

In the energy sector, Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) surged 2.30%, EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG) rose 1.39%, and Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY) gained 1.28%. Devon Energy Corporation (DVN) and Baker Hughes Company (BKR) rose 2.37% and 2.88%, respectively.

In utility stocks, NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE) increased by 1.57%, Southern Company (SO) jumped 1.03%, and Exelon Corporation (EXC) rose 1.10%. DBA Sempra (SRE) and AES Corporation (AES) advanced 1.24% and 1.59%, respectively.

In the communication sector, Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) rose 1.33%, Facebook, Inc. (FB) fell 4.52%, and Twitter Inc. (TWTR) declined 1.27%. Match Group, Inc. (MTCH) and News Corporation (NWS) plummeted 2.51% and1.17%, respectively.

Also Read: General Electric Co (GE) revises guidance upward after Q3 profits

Also Read: Raytheon (RTX) raises sales guidance, 3M (MMM) narrows EPS outlook

Nine of the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 index stayed in the positive territory.

Also Read: Eli Lilly (LLY), Novartis (NVS) profits up on robust sales growth

Futures & Commodities

Gold futures were down 0.70% to US$1,794.10 per ounce. Silver decreased by 1.55% to US$24.212 per ounce, while copper fell 0.71% to US$4.4958.

Brent oil futures traded flat at US$85.44 per barrel and WTI crude was up 0.85% to US$84.47.

Bond Market

The 30-year Treasury bond yields were down 2.06% to 2.042, while the 10-year bond yields fell 1.55% to 1.610.

US Dollar Futures Index increased by 0.15% to US$93.953.






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Failure To Bury “Transitory” Inflation Narrative Risks Sparking Biggest Fed Error In Decades: El-Erian Warns

Failure To Bury "Transitory" Inflation Narrative Risks Sparking Biggest Fed Error In Decades: El-Erian Warns

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The…

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Failure To Bury “Transitory” Inflation Narrative Risks Sparking Biggest Fed Error In Decades: El-Erian Warns

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times,

Failure on the part of the Fed to toss its stubbornly-held “transitory” inflation narrative and act more decisively to rein in persistently high price pressures raises the likelihood the central bank will need to slam on the brakes of easy money policies much more forcefully down the road, risking avoidably severe disruption to domestic and global markets, according to Queen’s College President and economist Mohamed El-Erian.

In stark contrast with the mindset of corporate leaders who are dealing daily with the reality of higher and persistent inflationary pressures, the transitory concept has managed to retain an almost mystical hold on the thinking of many policy makers,” El-Erian wrote in an Oct. 25 op-ed in Bloomberg.

“The longer this persists, the greater the risk of a historic policy error whose negative implications could last for years and extend well beyond the U.S.,” he argued.

Consumer price inflation is running at around a 30-year high and well beyond the Fed’s 2 percent target, to the consternation of central bank policymakers who face increasing pressure to roll back stimulus, even as they express concern that the labor market hasn’t fully rebounded from pandemic lows.

The total number of unemployed persons in the United States now stands at 7.7 million, and while that’s considerably lower than the pandemic-era high, it remains elevated compared to the 5.7 million just prior to the outbreak. The unemployment rate, at 4.8 percent, also remains above pre-pandemic levels.

At the same time, other labor market indicators, such as the near record-high number of job openings and an all-time-high quits rate—which reflects worker confidence in being able to find a better job—suggest the labor market is catching up fast. Businesses continue to report hiring difficulties and have been boosting wages to attract and retain workers. Over the past six months, wages have averaged a gain of 0.5 percent per month, around twice the pace prior to the pandemic, the most recent jobs report showed.

Besides measures of inflation running hot, consumer expectations for future levels of inflation have hit record highs, threatening a de-anchoring of expectations and raising the specter of the kind of wage-price spiral that bedeviled the economy in the 1970s. A recent Federal Reserve Bank of New York monthly Survey of Consumer Expectations showed that U.S. households anticipate inflation to be 5.3 percent next year and 4.2 percent in the next three years, the highest readings in the history of the series, which dates back to 2013.

El-Erian, in the op-ed, argued that the Fed has “fallen hostage” to the framing that the current bout of inflation is temporary and will abate once pandemic-related supply chain dislocations will abate.

“It is a framing that is pleasing to the ears, not only to those of policy makers but also those of the financial markets, but becoming harder to change,” he wrote.

“Indeed, the almost dogmatic adherence to a strict transitory line has given way in some places to notions of ‘extended transitory,’ ‘persistently transitory,’ and ‘rolling transitory’—compromise formulations that, unfortunately, lack analytical rigor given that the whole point of a transitory process is that it doesn’t last long enough to change behaviors,” he wrote.

El-Erian said he fears that Fed officials will double down on the transitory narrative rather than cast it aside, raising the probability of the central bank “having to slam on the monetary policy brakes down the road—the ‘handbrake turn.’”

“A delayed and partial response initially, followed by big catch-up tightening—would constitute the biggest monetary policy mistake in more than 40 years,” El-Erian argued, adding that it would “unnecessarily undermine America’s economic and financial well-being” while also sending “avoidable waves of instability throughout the global economy.”

His warning comes as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)—the Fed’s policy-setting body—will hold its next two-day meeting on November 2 and 3.

The FOMC has signaled it would raise interest rates sometime in 2023 and begin tapering the Fed’s $120-billion-a-month pandemic-era stimulus and relief efforts as early as November.

Some Fed officials have said that, if inflation stays high, this supports the case for an earlier rate hike. Fed Governor Christopher Waller recently suggested that the central bank might need to introduce “a more aggressive policy response” than just tapering “if monthly prints of inflation continue to run high through the remainder of this year.”

“If inflation were to continue at 5 [percent] into 2022, you’ll start seeing everybody potentially – well, I can’t speak for anybody else, just myself, but – you would see people pulling their ‘dots’ forward and having potentially more than one hike in 2022,” he said in prepared remarks to Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

The Fed’s dot plot (pdf), which shows policymakers’ rate-hike forecasts, indicates half of the FOMC’s members anticipate a rate increase by the end of 2022 and the other half predict the beginning of rate increases by the end of 2023.

For now the market is pricing in a more hawkish Fed response in 2022

Tyler Durden
Tue, 10/26/2021 – 16:49









Author: Tyler Durden

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Kimberly-Clark Forecasts Price Increases as Inflationary Pressures Accelerate, Supply Chain Disruptions Worsen

In yet another sign that inflation pressures are proving to be a lot more than just transitory, Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB)
The post Kimberly-Clark Forecasts…

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In yet another sign that inflation pressures are proving to be a lot more than just transitory, Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) — the maker of staple household goods such as Kleenex tissues, Huggies diapers, tampons, and toilet paper— has sounded the alarm over impacts of rapidly accelerating prices and supply chain headaches.

Shares of Kimberly-Clark tanked to a six-month low after the company cut its annual forecast due to rising inflation and supply chain disruptions. Third quarter net income stood at around $469 million, which equates to approximately $1.39 per share, against the $472 million— or $1.38 per share reported during the same period one year ago. The company reported an adjusted earnings per share of $1.62, which failed to meet consensus estimates calling for $1.65.

“Our earnings were negatively impacted by significant inflation and supply-chain disruptions that increased our costs beyond what we anticipated,” said Kimberly-Clark CEO Mike Hsu. As a result, Hsu warned that the company will be implementing price increases across a variety of goods in an effort to offset implications of supply chain woes and subsequent acceleration in commodity costs. “We are taking further action, including additional pricing and enhanced cost management, to mitigate these headwinds as it is becoming clear they are not likely to be resolved quickly,” he added.

However, Kimberly-Clark is far from being the only households goods company to sound the alarm over the effects of global supply chain disruptions and a persistent inflationary macroeconomic environment. Recall, General Mills, P&G, among others, have all issued warnings about impending cost-push inflation, as companies contend with margin compression that is further exasperated by ongoing labour shortages.


Information for this briefing was found via Kimberly-Clark. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

The post Kimberly-Clark Forecasts Price Increases as Inflationary Pressures Accelerate, Supply Chain Disruptions Worsen appeared first on the deep dive.



Author: Hermina Paull

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