How often are you on target when flying from one airport to the other? Let us say from Zurich to Dubai: how often is your plane likely to reach the final destination exactly by staying the course? The answer is a sobering 0%.
- In order to reach a goal, adjusting the course is warranted. In our mid-year update, we tweak some of the views issued a few weeks ago while confirming others.
- In particular, we upgraded emerging-market hard-currency bonds while downgrading the commodity complex overall. In contrast, we keep seeing inflation as a red herring.
This does not mean that you are unlikely to reach Dubai on time. Rather, it implies a lot of measuring positions, recalculating the models, and adjusting the course in the meantime. This is an analogy I use as a caveat when presenting our point forecasts to an audience. Some people claim that you cannot forecast the US dollar rate in three let alone twelve months from here. And I agree. But by using the metaphor of steering the views underway, the veil of ignorance can be pierced time and again.
Tweaking and confirming
This is what we are doing week after week anyway. But more prominently, in this edition we apply the method to our midyear update that we issued a few weeks ago. We tweak our calls where necessary, but also express our conviction in some of the expectations formulated earlier. When it comes to confirming views, we still think that the inflation debate is a red herring. The spikes in inflation rates are temporary and will calm down in the second half of 2021. The comforting signals include the massive supply response in production in the first half and signs that price spikes curbed demand in some of the red, hot, and glowing areas of the market (such as lumber recently). We reiterate our preference for equities too despite continuous downgrades of cyclical versus defensive sectors.
Conclusion for investors
In terms of change, there are two major ones: the downgrade of commodities as an asset class and the upgrade of emerging market bonds. Both are interlinked with the inflation debate as outlined above. Except for oil, the best for commodities may be behind us. In contrast, emerging economies will benefit, as safe-haven rates such as 10-year US Treasuries stop rising for now, and enjoy solid cash flows on increasing demand for commodities even if prices do not rise any further.
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What is going on in the markets? Julius Baer’s experts share their views.