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Capital Markets

Bond Outlook August 9th

The Fed pauses lest the slow down be too severe, but continued tightening is likely everywhere. Our old idea of a monolithic and centralised economy is in need of correction.

Bond Outlook [by bridport & cie, August 9th 2006]

A pause in rate increases by the Fed it is. However, a pause is not an end, not while the inflationary pressures remain, both external (commodities and energy, and China no longer being deflationary) and internal (labour costs rising at 4.2% per annum versus productivity gains of 1.1%). Slowing economic growth is not in itself enough to stop cost-push inflation. Bernanke is now navigating in those very dangerous waters between pushing the US economy into recession and letting rip inflation, with the ever-present danger of both at once, i.e. stagflation.

 

As regular readers well know, we see the Fed moves as part of the international compact to rebalance the world economy, a subject on which we remain quite optimistic. So many other parts of the world are improving that the expected decline in US consumption should be compensated elsewhere. A case in point is the UK, whose economy seemed particularly vulnerable to a US slowdown, but which has so expanded its exports within the EU that the BoE has raised rates unexpectedly, actually giving somewhat unwelcome strength to the pound.

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