August 22nd 2023, 2:34:00 pm
(about a month ago)
The North American equities have been sluggish since following the US credit downgrade, disappointing corporate earnings, weak China economic data, and US Federal Reserve meeting minutes which show the members still consider the possibility of higher interest rates going forward. S&P 500 and Nasdaq are down 4.16% and 6.56% month to date respectively and Canada’s S&P/TSX declined 3.64%. The indices are still up 14.53%, 28.1%, and 2.54% year to date.
The US interest rate Treasury curve is still inverted which is a classic sign of economic recession when inflation is demand induces. Still, the recent increases in prices were mainly driven by the Covid-era restrictions and geopolitical tensions.
The short-term interest rate stands at 5.5% and the two-year rate at 5%. Some analysts believe that the era of low interest rates of one to two percent is over and the US market should expect to see rates of around 4% in the next decade.
The latest inflation reports from US and Canada are also pointing to figures steadily hovering around 3% which is higher than central banks’ targets and the very nature of high interest rates will create inflation by itself going forward. The reason being the mortgage cost is a big chunk of the inflationary basket and higher rates mean a higher cost of owning or renting a house which is fat inflationary.
The low economic data from China is also causing concern as China was the global economy's engine, supplying cheap goods and keeping inflation at low levels. It may not be the case in the future and higher inflation and interest rates may be the new normal.