“Headwinds have turned into tailwinds”

By Colin Twiggs
March 9, 2017 11:30 p.m. EST (3:30 p.m. AEDT)

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“While many factors shape the economic outlook, some of the headwinds the U.S. economy faced in previous years have turned into tailwinds. Fiscal policy has become more stimulative and foreign demand for U.S. exports is on a firmer trajectory.”
~ New Fed Chair Jerome Powell in his first testimony before Congress

Two very important sentences for investors. Expect further rate hikes but at a moderate pace.

Bond yields have climbed in anticipation of higher inflation. Breakout above 3.0 percent would warn of a bond bear market, after the bull market of the last 3 decades, with rising yields.

10-Year Treasury Yields

The five-year breakeven rate (Treasury yield minus the equivalent yield on inflation indexed TIPS) has been climbing since 2016.

Fed Excess Reserves

But core CPI (CPI less Food & Energy) remains subdued.

And average hourly wage rates, reflecting underlying inflationary pressures, continue to grow at a modest 2.5 percent a year.

Private Sector Average Hourly Wage Rate Growth

Real GDP is likely to maintain its similarly modest growth.

Real GDP and Estimates

While the Fed is sitting on a powder keg of more than $2 trillion of commercial bank excess reserves, no one is playing with matches. Yet.

Federal Reserve Bank: Excess Reserves of Depositary Institutions

Those excess reserves on deposit at the Fed have the potential to fuel a massive bubble in stocks or real estate. But investors remain wary after their experience in 2008.

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it — and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again — and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.

~ Samuel Clemens

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Colin Twiggs is director of The Patient Investor Pty Ltd, an Authorised Representative (no. 1256439) of MoneySherpa Pty Limited which holds Australian Financial Services Licence No. 451289.

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