The Fed Approach

With the effective fed funds rate now only slightly below the range of estimates for neutral monetary policy and few signs of economic or financial market overheating, investors believe that the Federal Reserve is likely to hold rates steady in March, interrupting its pattern of quarterly interest rate hikes. Against this backdrop, U.S. Treasury bond markets have recently started to price in a higher probability that the Fed will cut its policy rate in late 2019 or 2020. While the downside risks to the outlook have increased over recent months, investors believe it’s too early to forecast the next easing cycle with a high degree of certainty. Slowing global growth and tighter financial condi

Market Outlook - Entering 2019

As investors enter 2019, the two largest economies in the world, the U.S. and China, both face challenges. First, will U.S. financial markets have a soft, bumpy or hard landing following the peak earnings and growth cycle seen in 2018? Second, will stimulus policies in China stabilize growth conditions in the year ahead? Resolutions for both will have significant global implications for economies and financial asset prices alike. Will the U.S. economy have a soft, bumpy or hard landing when it happens? Consensus expectations is for full-year growth to slow to 2.6% in 2019, however, on a 12-month rolling basis—fourth quarter 2018 to fourth quarter 2019—growth is expected to trough at 1.7%, a

Evaluating US Tariffs and Broader Changes in US-China Trade Dispute

Chinese-American economic equilibrium appears to continue to create volatility in market growth and require conservatism in some areas and bold moves in others. Yet, an analysis on private sector needs for changes in the business model —from consumer targeting, product offerings, supply chain, and capital structure and ownership remain under analysis. Generally, uncertainties lead to lower levels of long-term investment and increase valuation volatility of many kinds of assets. Companies are expected to follow prudent conservatism in many areas, with few bold moves when one-time opportunities arise. While tariffs are often the center of economic discussions, other broader changes should be o

Blockchain: a too complicated solution?

While accounting and transactions have experienced changes through Blockchain over recent years, and many uses of the technology have been identified in spaces such as healthcare, arts, and finance, doubts are emerging. Despite Venture-capital investment volume in block chain reaching $1 billion in 2017, and the finance industry spending $1.7 billion annually, evidence for economic use is limited; scalability remains an on-going concern. Large amounts of investments have not yielded substantial outcomes. Early development, led by financial services, envisioned large benefits in trade finance, derivatives netting and processing, and compliance. Insurers soon followed seeing potential in under

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