Fed “Out of Sync” With Other Central Banks
World Economy

Fed “Out of Sync” With Other Central Banks

If things in the marker seem scary, maybe that’s because they are scary. That’s the message from one widely followed fixed income investor.
“I think there is a global growth slowdown underway,” Bob Michele, global CIO and head of global fixed income at JPMorgan Asset Management, told CNBC’s “Fast Money” this week.  Looking at the somberly worded minutes of the most recent Federal Reserve meeting, Michele said the central bank was right to have second thoughts about hiking interest rates.
In the minutes for the Jan. 26-27 meeting, the Fed’s policymakers fretted that a global slowdown—and a deep stock market sell-off—could have fallout for the US economy.
“When I read the Fed minutes, I see a central bank that is out of sync with the other central banks of the world and is second-guessing itself,” Michele added.
Still, markets have gradually crept back after a brutal start to 2016. In a research note to clients on Friday, Capital Economics said it expects US stocks to “make further headway this year,” as China’s economic outlook improves.
While some investors may be emboldened by the S&P 500 Index having its best week of 2016, Michele instead looked to other assets classes and saw signs of trouble. He pointed to the significant moves in the last couple of months in safe haven assets like the 10-year treasury, whose price has surged, pushing yields lower. Gold, meanwhile, has jumped more $200 off its recent lows to hit $1,200 an ounce.
All of that makes Michele slightly concerned. “People who have had cash are going back into the markets and putting it to work,” said Michele.
“Does that change the fundamental picture? I don’t think so,” he said. “Fear has replaced greed.”
 Gradual Hikes
Economic fundamentals remain strong despite the recent tumult in financial markets that has led to rising expectations of a recession, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said Friday.
Consequently, Mester said she expects the US central bank to continue on a “gradual” pace of rate increases. Mester’s remarks come as the US economy grew just 0.7% in the fourth quarter, stock market averages have gone into correction and Wall Street forecasts have declined considerably for the year.
Nevertheless, Mester—one of the Federal Open Market Committee’s more hawkish members—said she expects the US to shake off the current problems.
“Solid labor market indicators, including strong payroll growth, and healthy growth in real disposable income suggest that underlying US economic fundamentals remain sound,” Mester said, according to prepared remarks she was to give to the Global Interdependence Center in Sarasota, Florida.

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