October, 21 2016 by lsr team

Some claim a US recession is ‘overdue’, but leading indicators are edging higher and we are not seeing the macro imbalances typically associated with major downturns. Rising bond yields and a correction in equity markets provide the clearest 2017 threats, while corporate indebtedness could compound these risks.

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.

August, 19 2016 by lsr team

In previous notes we have stressed how important supply-side rebalancing is for the success of China’s demand side revolution. Beijing’s longer-term intention is clear: it aims to proceed with supply-side reforms.  But what would happen to the labour market if Beijing went for a full blown, Austrian-style rebalancing of the supply side? What if they allowed failures to go under and ailing firms to restructure in a market-oriented way? How many jobs would be under threat from such a process? Click above to watch the full video or below for the full report...

July, 22 2016 by lsr team

Our preliminary estimates show that Chinese GDP growth stabilised at 6% in Q2. Domestic demand growth slowed to 5% in Q2, but offset by net trade. With the improvement in activity momentum largely a result of policy stimulus, it is highly questionable whether the government’s growth target can be achieved without fresh stimulus to boost investment. More worryingly, despite the recent stabilisation in industrial profits, private fixed asset investment growth has remained weak. With the outlook of domestic demand souring, companies are under pressure to deleverage an...

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, 17 2016 by lsr team

The latest US employment report was a bit of a shocker, with May’s dismal 38k job gain apparently killing any chance of a Fed rate increase in either June or July. Despite weaker than expected US jobs data and the downward revision of the Fed’s dot plot, we still expect two rate hikes from the Federal Reserve later this year. Click above to watch the video or below for our recent LSR View report.

June, 09 2016 by lsr team

The RBA kept the cash rate at 1.75% following last month’s 25 basis point cut, signalling a wait-and-see stance is appropriate as the economy reaches an inflexion point. Real GDP jumped 1.1% q/q in Q1, taking the annual rate of growth above 3%. However, this positive GDP surprise failed to impress investors. Gains in yields, equities and the AUD on the news proved short-lived, confirming the market’s recognition that the glass looks half-empty for Australia’s economy.. Click above to watch the full video.

June, 08 2016 by lsr team

The housing market has long played a central role in discussions about secular stagnation in the US. This is hardly surprising given it was the collapse in American house prices that brought so much destruction in 2008. Credit was tight, job/income prospects were poor, would–be homebuyers had reassessed potential long-term capital gains and there was a substantial overhang of unsold homes/foreclosures. An intense and long-lasting squeeze on housing investment explained why the economy had failed to bounce back as quickly as in previous recessions.   Since...

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, 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, 29 2016 by lsr team

Investor sentiment has started to perk up recently on the back of a series of strong data. On our preliminary estimate, Chinese GDP expanded 7.1% at an annualised rate in Q1. That is up from 5.5% in Q4 and is the fastest pace in almost two years. China’s economy has re-gained strength thanks to Beijing’s orchestrated policy stimulus. But how much longer can Beijing go on creating debt at a breakneck pace to generate growth? Click above to watch the full video.

April, 21 2016 by lsr team

Charles Dumas, director of Lombard Street Research, discusses the EU referendum’s impact on the UK unemployment numbers, and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s latest comments on monetary easing. He says the Bank of Japan has no control over the currency market and that people have an exaggerated understanding of the power of central banks. Click here to download and listen to the Bloomberg podcast or below to read his la...

March, 22 2016 by lsr team

Households have been borrowing more and saving less, suggesting their finances are increasingly vulnerable to shocks – not least in view of stretched property market conditions. This is a topic that was repeatedly raised during out recent visits to Australian clients. Spurred by easy monetary policy and a buoyant property market, the leverage of households –predominantly mortgages- has risen to a record 1.8 times income. At the same time, their savings ratio has been declining through the RBA’s extended easing cycle, raising questions about the robustne...

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, 29 2016 by lsr team

Both the UK and the US are relying on consumers to power recovery. But while British households have largely shaken off the after-crisis blues, their US counterparts seem to be suffering from a case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by past job and home losses. The difference is clearest in the savings rate. In both economies, there is a strong historical relationship between wealth and savings. However, whereas American consumers are currently saving more than their wealth ratios would suggest, UK consumers are setting aside less. What has driven this divergence?...

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, 11 2016 by lsr team

The stock market is fixated on China, as the deep convictions of the China bulls are progressively and painfully eviscerated. But their inability until recently to see the flaws in China’s post-crisis recovery is fomenting a new delusion: that China’s slowdown, and stock-market angst, will necessarily pull down the rest of the world’s economies and stock markets. In other words, the obsession with China has taken on a new form rather than faded, as it should have done: China is clearly important, but it is not all-important. Click below to find out how...

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...

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, 18 2015 by lsr team

Last week we summarised the first panel discussion of our recent conference in New York, “The New Abnormal: American monetary policy and China’s liberalisation”. The second panel addressed the question of whether China’s financial transformation would be “a boon or a curse for the world economy”. LSR’s own Diana Choyleva was joined by Chinese political analyst TL Tsim and Fraser Howie, co-author of “Red Capitalism”. The panellists agreed that the process of financial market reform had reached a critical point, exempli...

November, 12 2015 by lsr team

Brazil is battling a host of structural, cyclical, external and political risks. It faces headwinds from a turn in the metals supercycle, tighter liquidity conditions, diminished competitiveness and a payback from poor policy choices. It is one of the most vulnerable economies on almost all the metrics that we use to assess growth prospects in emerging markets (EMs). Brazil has been one of our least preferred EMs for long time now and we see no reason to change our stance. In fact, the pain is set to intensify. Click below to find out more.

November, 11 2015 by lsr team

While markets are fixated on the prospects for emerging markets and whether China’s slowdown will drag down the world economy, a crisis has been brewing in Germany that, according to some commentators, could end Angela Merkel’s reign and reignite the euro crisis. This is probably an exaggeration. Still, it is true that the country’s huge influx of refugees –whom Ms Merkel welcome with open arms –is causing widespread public consternation and undermining the government’s authority. This is a pity because the chancellor’s approach to...

November, 09 2015 by lsr team

The Bank of England’s Mark Carney, who has been a accused of flip flopping over the past few years, turned dovish again on ‘Super Thursday’ as he unveiled new macroeconomic projections that served to push back market rate expectations. Given the downside risks to global growth and with the ECB on the verge of expanding its stimulus, the MPC clearly felt that a little dovishness couldn’t do any harm. As a result, most investors don’t expect interest rate ‘liftoff’ until late 2016, with increasing speculation the first rate hike might...

October, 27 2015 by lsr team

China’s economy has entered a critical period in its post-crisis adjustment, posing serious risks for the rest of the world. Our final GDP estimate shows Chinese growth at just 0.4% QoQ in Q3, the weakest since the Global Financial Crisis. Its sharp growth slowdown, feeding through into a deterioration in the labour market, will be a stern test of Beijing’s resolve to reform in coming quarters.  So far policymakers have stayed firm. The central bank cut interest rates and banks’ required reserve ratio (RRR) last Friday in a bid to support grow...

October, 15 2015 by lsr team

The FOMC decision to keep interest rates on hold in September left a number of economists confused and angry. Some argued the committee was ignoring its mandate and pandering to external considerations. With GDP growing at a healthy pace for a seventh consecutive year and the labour market approaching full employment, a broad reading of US data made it hard to justify emergency levels of interest rates. Some investors, particularly those based in the US, were worried that the Fed was trying to become the world’s central bank, rather than staying within its own ju...

October, 12 2015 by lsr team

Over the past three years, Beijing under the leadership of Xi Jinping has changed the direction of its economic policy decisively. Alone among the world’s major savers, China has embarked on necessary but painful reforms rather than opt for competitive devaluation. Despite much weaker growth, overall policy has been tight. By Chinese standards, progress on financial liberalisation has been swift. However, the ultimate success of China’s policy drive will depend on three big IFs. To find out more about whether China will be able to rebalance and help the globa...

October, 09 2015 by lsr team

Abenomics is a response to frustration with Japan’s poor economic performance since its bubble burst in 1990. But Abenomics treats the symptoms, especially deflation, rather than the disease, which it makes worse. Disastrous consequences of Abenomics have only been avoided so far, because it has failed to generate inflation – courtesy of the oil price slump and Japan’s enfeebled domestic demand. But can QE ever be stopped and more importantly, is Japan about to face a financial crisis? Click below to find out our latest View on Japan.

September, 30 2015 by lsr team

We were delighted to have Charles Goodhart, Professor of London School of Economics and a former Chief Advisor at the Bank of England as our guest speaker at LSR's September conference in London. Professor Goodhart shared his recent in-depth analysis for Morgan Stanley of the impact of future demographic trends on global saving and investment rates and the balance between them. The past three decades saw a profound positive shock to the global labour force but we are now on the cusp of a sharp reversal. Charles discussed with enviable eloquence how demographic changes a...

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, 01 2015 by lsr team

The yuan’s relatively small depreciation cannot explain its huge impact on investors’ attitudes. Rather, it served as a reminder of the persistent, powerful global deflationary trend. In the UK context, sterling strength has amplified global deflationary pressure on UK economy. Our analysis suggests that currency strength alone will have been sufficient to push annual CPI inflation around 0.5% lower today than it otherwise would have been. Along with large falls in energy prices, global deflation has done more than enough to contain any pick-up in inflation t...

July, 30 2015 by lsr team

Recent comments by various MPC members and last week’s MPC minutes make next week’s Quarterly Inflation Report an interesting event to watch. Since the recovery began in mid-2013, policy discussions have centred on the debate between the economy’s cyclical strength and structural weakness in the labour market. Labour market conditions, however, have improved over the past year with a sharp rise in employment and wage inflation picking up. The UK’s domestic recovery is becoming increasingly solid, but is still vulnerable to external weakness, mostl...

July, 28 2015 by lsr team

The Fed continues to prepare the market for imminent rate hikes. Yet, while most economists anticipate a move in September, it seems many investors remain sceptical. Perhaps this is a classic case of the boy who cried wolf – the central bank has been threatening to raise interest rates for so long that many investors think it is bluffing. We think that the timing of lift-off really isn’t as important as the pace and extent of policy tightening thereafter. This will depend on two crucial things: 1) what happens to the neutral interest rate over the new few wee...

July, 27 2015 by lsr team

The minutes from July’s RBA meeting confirmed a cautiously dovish monetary stance. Given the subdued inflationary pressures- reflecting sluggish growth and a weak labour market, the downward pressure on policy rate should persist, at least in the near term. At the same time, Governor Stevens is under pressure to protect the economy from a lack of fiscal drive. The end of Australia’s commodity supercycle has far-reaching fiscal implications: government finances are stuck in chronic deficit and foreign debt build up is accelerating. Click below to find out...

July, 14 2015 by lsr team

 ‘Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise’, George Osborne announced during his Budget speech on Wednesday. A key aspect of our outlook, which we discussed before the UK general election, was that wages would grow faster than assumed in March 2015 and so the cyclical improvement in the deficit was likely to be stronger. The OBR has now made this adjustment by upgrading its wage inflation forecast. With forecast changes augmenting tax-raising measures to the tune of around £4bn per year, the government chose to slow the pace...