June, 02 2017 by lsr team

Ken Wattret, Chief European Economist, talks about our latest Europe Watch publication Economics: ECB meeting – what to expect 
- Upbeat on growth, cautious on core inflation; financial conditions a concern
-  Easing bias  should go but probably stays for now; exit discussion more likely Politics: Italian elections draw near; May’s wobbles 
-  A risky autumn election in Italy is looking more likely
-  PM May still in pole position but weakened by a poor campaign Markets: Dancing round the May pol...

April, 12 2017 by lsr team

Jonathan Fenby, Managing Director, European Political Research, and Ken Wattret, Managing Director, Global Macro, discuss and answer your questions on this issue including:
- The probable result and the market reaction to either a Le Pen or Macron victory
- The economic outlook in either outcome
- The reform agenda needed to improve growth and encourage investors
- The reform that each candidate would be able to deliver
- Why both Macron and Le Pen would both have difficulty leading the French government
- How investors should posit...

January, 20 2017 by lsr team

- Germany & EA both growing above-potential, inflation rising
- Less inordinate ECB stimulus to be announced this summer
- Rising euro vs. dollar later in 2017 to put pressure on Italy
- Germany to accept fiscal union, or Italexit a risk in 2018-19
- Ultra-cheap euro, huge trade surplus: a cause of Brexit-Trump
- World impatient with prolonged resolution of new euro-crisis
- German domestic imbalances could shrink over 10-15 years
- Baby boomers retire – saving down. Immigration raises capex

October, 14 2016 by lsr team

The euro area LI continues to put in an above consensus call. It is probably over predicting growth somewhat but its strength is fundamentally underpinned by the newly emerged German locomotive. While German demand often turns out to be derived from others, chiefly China, in this case it is genuine. In fact, this is highlighted by our below consensus Australia call. China’s stimulus has not fed through to a rebound in private demand, although easing PPI deflation is helping manufacturers.

October, 07 2016 by lsr team

We think that an ECB taper is increasingly likely in 2017. But the bank’s immediate problem is how to overcome a scarcity of bonds available for purchase in order to complete the current programme. The ECB needs to be able to credibly declare victory before it heads for the exit.

September, 02 2016 by lsr team

It’s our concern that inflation in the US will eventually outpace market expectations in 2017, as sturdy demand plays out against a weakened supply side and wages and inflation spur each other along. However, for now, real wage growth may even moderate in the US, as wage negotiations typically reflect inflation 6 quarters previously. In this video, we outline what is holding down the long end of the curve in the US and highlight a tactical trade from our strategists before these deeper themes play out. Is it Draghi that holds the key?

August, 26 2016 by lsr team

Euro area GDP was a tad disappointing in Q2 but, overall, European data remain solid. We expect above-trend growth (1½%) over the next 12 months, although at a marginally slower pace. Spain has been outperforming the rest of the region while Italy remains the laggard, a trend that is likely to continue. To find out more, click above to watch the video or below for the full report.

July, 15 2016 by lsr team

With central banks ready to raid their emergency tool kits and the ECB rapidly absorbing most of the euro area’s bond market, it is perhaps understandable that Brexit hasn’t triggered a wider deterioration in European financial conditions. The economy however will take a hit in coming months as the UK is an important market for many euro area exporters. That said, Brexit has had a significant impact on European banks, especially Italian lenders. Currently, Italian non-performing loans stand at around €210bn-360bn, or around 20% of GDP. Click above to wat...

July, 07 2016 by lsr team

Last quarter we warned that, although growth was likely to remain positive during our 2-year forecast horizon, the end of the cycle was now in sight. Since then the Brexit vote has dragged forward the debilitating effect of final demand uncertainty on investment that we would normally associate with the very late cycle. As a result we expect a technical recession during H2 2016. To find out more about Brexit’s impact on the UK economy, click above the watch the video or below for our latest UK Outlook report.  

June, 30 2016 by lsr team

The UK voted last Thursday to leave the EU. So far at least, market reaction to the news hasn’t been anywhere near as violent as the doomsday predictions before the vote implied. There is little evidence of either liquidity stresses or contagion so far. We believe that the imminent risks of contagion may be quite limited as, unlike in 2008, there is no major drying up of liquidity to force a widespread liquidation of risk assets. To find out more about Brexit’s market implications and our views, click above to watch the video or below for our latest Macro Str...

June, 22 2016 by lsr team

June would have been a busy month for event risk by any measure, with ECB, Fed, BoJ and BoE policy decisions, an OPEC meeting at the start of the month and Spanish elections at the end. But all these have been completely overshadowed by the EU referendum the UK will hold tomorrow on June 23. With the emphasis very much on the short term, we focus on two aspects of Brexit: what’s likely to happen and how to position for it. Click above to watch the full video or below for our latest Asset Allocation report on Brexit strategy.

June, 02 2016 by lsr team

China’s rebalancing started only in 2015, with recent numbers showing significant progress in rebalancing from excessive saving and capex towards more consumer spending. Capex in 2015 fell by 1.8% of GDP, while gross savings dropped by 1%. This is the first concrete evidence of genuine rebalancing, but still remains small in relation to what is needed. Our Chief Economist, Charles Dumas explains how further rebalancing can be achieved through explicit yuan devaluation against the dollar and other major currencies. Click above to watch the full video. &...

May, 26 2016 by lsr team

The surprise rise in the yen and the less surprising rise in the euro this year have removed Ms. Yellen’s international concerns about why she should not be hiking interest rates. Specifically, a dollar spike now seems least of our concerns… Our Chief Economist, Charles Dumas talks us through the domestic conditions in the US and Euro area and the risks of rising bond yields by next year. These issues will be further discussed in our upcoming LSR View, stay tuned!  

May, 19 2016 by lsr team

Everyone likes a close race, and the media are trying really hard to portray the upcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU as one that could go either way. In most surveys, the percentage of Undecided votes is very high – typically between 15% and 20%. With both Remain and Leave well below 50%, it is clear that it’ll be the people who haven’t made up their minds yet who will determine the outcome. To find out how investors can position themselves ahead of the vote, click below.

May, 16 2016 by lsr team

Depending on who you believe, Brexit would either cause a crisis on a par to what happened in 2008, or herald the start of a British economic renaissance, an era of free trade and rapid deregulation. The truth, of course, is that nobody really knows what will happen because the outcome depends on what policies and institutional arrangements are put in place following the referendum. The only thing we know for sure is that this situation is causing considerable uncertainty and a Brexit vote would compound any short-term damage that is doing to the UK economy. While Brexit...

April, 13 2016 by lsr team

Back in January, economists were gloomily warning about currency wars. The Bank of Japan had just announced negative interest rates and seemed to be threatening even lower – possibly much lower – rates to come. The ECB was set to respond at its meeting in March. And, of course, everyone was concerned about the prospect of a major Chinese devaluation. A few months after much of this talk has disappeared. There seems to be a ceasefire in the global currency ‘war’ and many economists attribute this to February’s G20 meeting in Shanghai. Even...

April, 07 2016 by lsr team

We held a client seminar on the economic impact of Brexit in June 2015 – as always at LSR we like to be well ahead of the curve! As we stated then, the longer term implications of a vote to leave are likely to be small in either direction. However, since the middle of last year our concerns about the immediate impact of the referendum have been amplified by the declining household savings rate. With consumer demand closer to the end of its own cycle, any investment disruption will be keenly felt. Our senior economist, Richard Batley discusses Brexit and its impact...

March, 24 2016 by lsr team

We recently published the Q2 2016 edition of the LSR UK Outlook. Our central forecasts assume that the UK remains in the EU, but we also modelled a ‘Brexit risk’ scenario. This risk involved shocking the model in a number of different ways, in particular by weakening trade-weighted sterling, increasing the level of household’s precautionary saving and reducing the share of business investment associated with exports to the EU to a ‘depreciation-replacement’ only level. The difference in the quarterly profile of growth between our central pro...

March, 04 2016 by lsr team

March is a busy month for central bank watchers. The fun starts next Thursday in Frankfurt with the ECB policy decision, before moving to the BoJ (15th), the Fed (16th) and the BoE (17th). With investors concerned about the state of the global economy and wondering whether monetary policy is reaching its limits, markets are looking for a central bank response. But outside the euro area, we don’t expect a great deal of action. Market rate expectations for the Fed and the BoE have already dropped sharply (down 75-90bps since December) and some comforting words should be...

February, 25 2016 by lsr team

We held a client seminar on the economic impact of Brexit in June 2015 – as always at LSR we like to be well ahead of the curve! As we stated then, the longer-term implications of a vote to leave are likely to be small in either direction. However, since the middle of last year our concerns about the immediate impact of the referendum have been amplified by the declining household savings rate. With consumer demand closer to the end of its own cycle any investment disruption will be keenly felt. To what extent sterling will contin...

February, 15 2016 by lsr team

The UK cycle is rapidly maturing. We have stressed before that uncertainty over Brexit is likely to add a burden to the end of the cycle, dampening investment intentions just when consumption bottlenecks would otherwise have driven up capex. As with the Scottish referendum, polls have narrowed. The latest poll of polls put those who want to remain in the EU on 51%, with those who wish to leave on 49%. Many of those who expect an exit presumably think it would be a good thing. But in the short term, uncertainty over how Brexit would affect trade and capital flows will tak...

February, 10 2016 by lsr team

It was almost exactly a year ago that various bond yields in Europe turned negative, unleashing a wave of questions from our readers. Clients wanted to know what this strange phenomenon meant and how long it would last. Twelve months on, far from proving to be a temporary aberration, central banks in Europe have taken their policy rates deeper into negative territory. Now the Bank of Japan has joined in and helped push the 10-year government bond yield to almost zero today. With risks to the global economy intensifying, there is even speculation that US and UK rates coul...

February, 09 2016 by lsr team

Ironically, financial market turbulence has hit just as the world economy’s chances of rebalancing successfully had increased. We published our year ahead piece in early December with the title “Don’t panic!”, but investors returned to work after the holidays worried about China’s slowdown, collapsing oil prices, global debt unwinding and the dearth of policy options left open to leading central banks. Widespread anxiety pulled the rug from under asset prices. As is our tradition, we asked our clients in mid- January for their top questions...

January, 18 2016 by lsr team

Charles Dumas, director at Lombard Street Research, discusses market reaction to the slowdown of the Chinese economy and what to expect as the yuan devalues. Click below to watch the video on Bloomberg.

January, 14 2016 by lsr team

Twelve months ago, economists were busy trying to assess the impact of the collapse in oil prices on the global economy. Opinion was divided. Some thought the 60% drop in prices would provide a sizeable boost to consumer demand. Other economists were sceptical, worrying that the plunge told us something disturbing about the state of the global economy. A final group of commentators was even gloomier, arguing the inevitable correction in shale fracking would cause a US recession and tip the world into a crisis. At LSR we were on the optimistic side of the debate, though w...

January, 08 2016 by lsr team

While it is always dangerous to extrapolate from the recent past, the consensus expects 2016 to look remarkably like 2015. The issues that have dominated market commentary over the past 12 months – EM weakness, global deflation and central bank divergence – remain the sellside’s favourite 2016 themes. There is also a surprising amount of agreement about what will happen. Growth will move sideways, inflation will remain too low and the divergence trade has further to run. T...

January, 04 2016 by lsr team

Happy New Year! Having sifted through various sell-side reports, we conclude that our emerging market view is more on the bearish side. While we have a constructive stance on some EMs, India and Mexico in particular, our general tone is still one of caution. For more details, please request a copy of our year-ahead piece -2016: Don’t panic, yet! In today’s note, we address three key questions: 1) Why are we more bearish than consensus on EMs? 2) What would make us more optimistic? 3) What would make us more negative? Click below to find out more.

December, 09 2015 by lsr team

Twelve months ago we said 2015 would be a year of ‘deceptive calm’. With the S&P 500 up 5% and US 10-year yields around 5bps higher, you could say our forecast was accurate. Markets spent much of the year in an anxious state, fretting about Greece, then China, then the risk of a synchronised global recession. In 2006 and 2007, LSR had a high conviction that a financial meltdown was about to wreak havoc on the global economy. This time around we stick with our 2015 theme ‘Keep Dancing’ but with no great conviction. Looking ahead to 2016, China...

November, 30 2015 by lsr team

With economists across the City busy finalising their big what-will-happen in 2016 publications, LSR likes to revisit what we wrote 12 months ago and see how those views panned out. This is useful not only because it highlights our successes but also it provides a way to explain our clients what we got wrong. Of course, this breaks one of the golden rules of sell-side economics – never admit when you’re wrong - but we believe it is a way of providing intellectual consistency. Clients can usually forgive economists for changing their mind, as long as they can exp...

October, 26 2015 by lsr team

Though few economists expected concrete announcements from the ECB last week, many thought Mario Draghi would hint at further action by the end of the year. Mr Draghi doesn’t like to disappoint markets and this occasion was no exception, as he delivered a dovish message and emphasized the central bank’s willingness to reassess its policies in December. The recovery is proceeding, but global risks have increased. Moreover, the ECB seems determined to keep its currency down, especially with the Fed apparently backtracking from its plans to raise interest rates....

October, 21 2015 by lsr team

The justified outburst of nerves about China has led the bull market in equities to take a well-earned breather since August – and in the best tradition of economic forecasting, experts’ projections seem to have become a lagging indicator of the stock market. While global manufacturing has much to be concerned with – notably in the German automobile powerhouse – it is far from clear that we should be fearing a recession in the West. Consumers are cheerier than at any time since the peachier phases of the pre-crisis boom, this time with less debt....

September, 16 2015 by lsr team

When oil prices crashed last winter, the world’s major central banks were planning to ‘look through’ this development. They argued the impact would be temporary, with inflation quick to rebound. This view has been broadly correct- inflation in developed economies is close to a trough and should rise by early 2016 thanks to favourable base effects. That said, the global economy is clearly more deflationary than policymakers anticipated at the start of the year. Meanwhile, China’s slump has caused a broader EM downturn, which is weighing heavily on...

September, 04 2015 by lsr team

Recent falls in equity markets have reignited the debate about the appropriateness of monetary tightening in the US and elsewhere. Those economists committed to a ‘secular stagnation’ view of the global economy perceive recent market falls as a vindication; how could the Fed, or indeed the Bank of England, be considering raising rates from emergency levels when there is still clearly an emergency? Yesterday was the turn of Mario Draghi and the ECB to make their contribution to this debate. While recent euro strength will be a concern, the ECB’s QE progr...

August, 11 2015 by lsr team

The People’s Bank of China fixed the yuan rate at the top of yesterday’s trading range, pushing the currency down by 1.9% against the dollar. In their statement today, the authorities said the change would help drive the currency towards more market-driven movements. As we have previously argued, growth has weakened sharply under the burden of the overvalued yuan and capacity excesses while monetary conditions remain tight. Although the economy desperately needs a weaker currency, joining the other saver economies -Japan and the euro area- in the global currency...

July, 17 2015 by lsr team

Greece came perilously close to crashing out of the euro last weekend and though a deal was agreed to reopen bailout talks, the country’s euro membership hangs in the balance. We continue to assume there will be a third bailout, but this remains a risky assumption and in any case the threat of Grexit will be a recurring theme. With this in mind, we consider what might happen in the Grexit scenario by examining the short term impact of Grexit on the Greek and the euro area economy. Click below to find out if Greece is better off without the euro and whether euro are...

July, 09 2015 by lsr team

The Greek No vote and the Chinese stock rout are key setbacks to investor sentiment. With the Greek public voting NO in the referendum and the subsequent reaction of several influential political leaders on the creditors side, the tone has now shifted towards containing the contagion if a deal cannot be reached. While a deal is still our base case (albeit with reduced conviction), we deem it prudent to reduce portfolio risk given the increasing uncertainty regarding the direction of the Greek negotiations. We regard contagion risks as manageable and intend to ramp up our ex...

June, 18 2015 by lsr team

The Greek central bank reported on Wednesday that €30bn deposits were pulled out of Greek banks between October 2014 and April 2015 and warned that Greece is likely to default and exit from the eurozone if it fails to reach a deal with lenders. Prior to that, we’ve also seen a massive sell-off in Bunds, triggered by modest inflation in the eurozone and markets’ refusal to believe that the QE programme will be implemented in full. While a Grexit isn’t our central scenario, we believe that the markets may be too complacent about the impact of a Greek...

June, 17 2015 by lsr team

Following the surprise result of the UK general election, sterling markets are still faced with the prospect of political uncertainty.  An in/out EU referendum has to be held before the end of 2017, and most likely will be in late-2016.  The prospect of another fiscal rule intended to lock-in budget surpluses could have the effect of introducing a politically-motivated volatility. In the meantime, the UK economy is shaping up to enjoy a period of stable, non-debt dependent growth led by the consumer sector.  LSR’s Richard Batley introduced the sem...

June, 03 2015 by lsr team

The government’s strategy of brinkmanship via self-harm is reaching its limits. Exchange controls around a “Greek euro” could be the least bad solution.