Scope to stand out from the crowd

Should a Brexit deal be reached within the next few months, the UK’s financial markets will probably buck the global trend with money market rates, Gilt yields and the pound all rising by more than is widely expected. The FTSE 100, however, probably won’t be able to shake off the drag from overseas and is likely to fall sharply this year. If there’s a no deal Brexit, money market rates, Gilt yields and the pound would all fall. But our probability-weighted forecasts imply that the risks to investors’ expectations are skewed to the upside.
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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 Capital Economics Economist

Commodities Weekly Wrap

Middle East tensions back in the spotlight

Having surged this week, the price of oil could rise further in the near term if tensions between Iran and the US continue to escalate. At the same time, the price of gold is benefitting from an increase in safe-haven demand and a weaker US dollar. The prices of most industrial commodities also rose this week as both the Fed and the ECB signalled looser monetary policy and President Trump announced that he would meet with President Xi on the sidelines of the G20 meeting. Markets will be closely watching events in the Gulf over the next few days. Elsewhere, the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, gets under way on Friday and all eyes will be on the Trump-Xi meeting. Even if some sort of trade agreement is reached between the two leaders, we do not think it will last. A deal which would be acceptable to both sides appears increasingly remote. We suspect that by early next year, nearly all of China’s exports to the US will be subject to tariffs. Finally, the biannual OPEC and OPEC+ meetings that had been scheduled for next week have been postponed until 1st-2nd July, reportedly because Russia was keen that the meetings be held after the G20.

21 June 2019

Capital Daily

Market reaction to US-Iran tensions likely to remain contained

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21 June 2019

Africa Economics Weekly

Easing cycle gains momentum, no news from SONA

Inflation figures released in South Africa and Nigeria this week supported our view that policymakers in both countries will loosen monetary policy later this year. Rates elsewhere are already falling; the Bank of Mozambique cut by 25bp this week. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address was disappointingly light on substance, suggesting that divisions within the ANC are hobbling policymaking.

21 June 2019
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