Where is the market going? What kind of risks do we need to be aware of? There are three or four things to pay attention to right now. The FED, interest rates, inflation, Covid, China, the government, and geopolitics. Do any of these present a risk to markets?
Okay, more than three or four things, but the first three can all be lumped together. Interest rate policy is enacted by the FED and what happens with interest rates has a direct impact on inflation. Furthermore, the government also has a chance to impact inflation.
And I apologize if we bounce around a little from topic to topic.
The FED, Interest Rates, Inflation
The government and the FED have a lot of control over what inflation is going to do. We had a lot of liquidity injected into the market because of the pandemic, and there’s a very good chance we’ll see more of that in the near future.
A $3.5 trillion bill is circulating through Congress right now. If this bill gets passed, we’ll have a lot more liquidity injected into the market. That’s likely to be a large tailwind for inflation (which is already running much hotter than expected). If the FED continues to provide an accommodative monetary policy, we’ll see inflation get out of control, and they’ll have to increase interest rates much sooner than they had planned.
Covid is still hanging around. 75% of the country has received at least one shot and now the administration is pushing booster shots. This is even after the CDC and the WHO have insisted on holding off on a third shot until less fortunate countries have a chance to get more of their first poke. The numbers need to level off soon or I fear lockdowns may rear their ugly head, and we all know how much the economy liked that the first time around.
China is a new story. Specifically, Evergrande. The ginormous real estate company is on the brink of bankruptcy. Comparisons have been made to the collapse of Lehman Brothers during the GFC (great financial crisis). We’ll see what happens and if the Chinese government decides to step in. Ripple effects through the global monetary system are possible.
The last story is geopolitics. This has to do with the deal the US and Australia struck to help the Australian government build nuclear-capable submarines. It angered France because they already had a deal with Australia to help them build submarines (not nuclear-capable though). Britain feels pretty good because they helped broker the US/Aussie deal. Most likely, this will end up being only noise but could present a risk to markets. Something to keep your eye on.
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