Markets to regain their poise as recoveries continue

While the resurgence in COVID-19 cases that has recently weighted on UK equities, the pound and 10-year gilt yields is clearly a downside risk, our view that it won’t deal a big blow to the global or domestic economic recoveries suggests that UK equities, the pound and 10-year gilt yields will all continue their latest rebound. That said, we have revised down our financial market forecasts. We no longer expect the pound to significantly strengthen or UK equities to drastically outperform overseas equities. And because we think the Bank of England will tighten monetary policy later than the financial markets assume, we now expect 10-year gilt yields to rise from close to 0.60% now to only 0.75% by the end of this year, to 1.00% next year and to 1.25% in 2023 (down from 1.25%, 1.50% and 1.50% previously).
Paul Dales Chief UK Economist
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UK Markets Outlook

Markets mistaken on speed of rate hikes

Although the economic backdrop has recently become less favourable for UK asset prices, we expect that the economic recovery will regain some vigour in the second half of next year, that CPI inflation will fall close to the 2.0% target in late 2022 and that over the next two years the Bank of England won’t raise interest rates as fast or as far as investors expect. As a result, we expect 10-year gilt yields to rise from close to 0.90% now to only 1.50% by the end of 2023 and we think the FTSE 100 will climb from around 7,225 now to 8,000 by the end of 2023. Relative to our US forecasts, the rise in bond yields is smaller and the increase in equity prices is larger. That said, we are not expecting the pound to strengthen against either the dollar or the euro. In fact, the risk is that it weakens against both.

22 November 2021

UK Markets Chart Book

Investors overestimating interest rate hikes

The extent of the shift in investors’ expectations of interest rates over the past month has been staggering. Investors are now pricing in an 80% chance of a hike to Bank Rate, from 0.10% to 0.25%, at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on 4th And a further rise to 0.50% is now fully discounted in markets by the meeting on 3rd February. We agree with investors that an interest rate hike in the next few months looks increasingly likely. But, in our view, the extent of tightening that investors have priced in looks wide of the mark. Instead, we expect the Bank of England to hike rates gradually and by less than most expect. That’s based on our forecast that economic activity will be soft over the next few months, and that CPI inflation will peak just shy of 5% in April 2022 and fall back sharply thereafter.

22 October 2021

UK Markets Chart Book

Worrying more about higher inflation

The recent rises in 2-year and 10-year gilt yields to their highest levels since the “dash for cash” at the start of the pandemic have entirely been driven by the investors revising up their expectations for inflation. Indeed, 10-year break-even inflation rates are now at their highest level since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Our forecast that RPI inflation will shoot up from 3.8% in August to just over 6.0% by the end of the year suggests that break-even inflation rates may yet rise further. But they should then drop back next year as the bulk of the rise in RPI inflation is reversed. What’s more, our view that the Bank of England will put more weight on the recent weakening in activity than the rise in inflation and won’t raise Bank Rate until 2023 suggests that a big surge in nominal gilt yields is not around the corner.

21 September 2021

More from Paul Dales

UK Economic Outlook

Surge in inflation won’t be sustained

Our forecast that COVID-19 won’t significantly reduce potential supply means that the economy can run a bit hotter for longer without generating the persistent rise in inflation that would require monetary policy to be tightened. Admittedly, this won’t prevent the previous gains in commodity prices and component costs from triggering a rise in CPI inflation from 2.5% in June to around 4.0% by the end of the year. But it should mean that CPI inflation falls back below 2.0% in 2022 and the short-lived spike doesn’t lead to higher pay growth and inflation expectations. That’s why we think monetary policy won’t be tightened until the middle of 2023, which would be a year later than the markets expect.

20 July 2021

UK Data Response

Monthly GDP & International Trade (May)

The easing in the pace of the economic recovery in May suggests that GDP is now more likely to return to the February 2020 pre-pandemic peak in October rather than in August. The bigger point, though, is that the recovery so far has been faster than most imagined possible six or 12 months ago. And the economy may yet surprise most forecasters again by emerging from the pandemic without much scarring.

9 July 2021

UK Economics Update

CPI inflation may peak around 4%

Bigger rises in commodity and component costs than we had expected mean that we now think CPI inflation will rise from 2.1% in May to a peak of about 4.0% around the turn of the year. But we still think this will be a short, sharp spike in inflation that won’t feed into persistently faster pay growth or higher inflation expectations for a couple of years yet. As such, we suspect the Monetary Policy Committee will look through it and won’t tighten policy as soon mid-2022 as the financial markets expect.

6 July 2021
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