Displaying items by tag: crisis
Every time there is a bout of volatility, the financial media, and inevitably a few market analysts, forecast that ETFs may be at the center of the next flare up. Yet for the most part, ETFs have held up very well to periods of turmoil. Despite this solid performance though, the creeping logic that they might have a problem lingers. The Financial Times has just posted an article which argues that just as ETFs have managed to magnify the rise in equities, they will also exacerbate the fall. Since so many assets are now in passive funds, the risk of a herd mentality—with all investors having similar stop-loss orders—leading to a big selloff seems likely. Further, since there are fewer active managers playing the role of contrarians as the market falls, who is going to be there to insulate the market when it begins to tumble?
FINSUM: The ETF structure has proven itself quite resilient so far. We are not saying there won’t be a problem, but we feel like the underlying problem in the next meltdown might not have to do with ETFs themselves, rather it may just be magnified by them.
JP Morgan just published what could be the most well-documented financial crisis forecast ever written. The bank’s quant team put out a 143-age report chronicling how the next crisis will unfold which features the opinions of almost 50 of Wall Street’s top analysts and strategists. The consensus is that there will be a major “liquidity crisis” with huge selloffs in major asset classes, and no one to step in to buy. The losses will be exacerbated by the shift to passive management and the rise of algorithmic trading. JP Morgan says that the Fed and other central banks may even need to directly buy stocks, and there could even be negative income taxes. The bank thinks the crisis will hit sometime after the first half of 2019, most likely in 2020.
FINSUM: Assessing the validity of these kinds of predictions is always hard. While we have no idea about the timing, or whether this will actually happen, the argument is well thought out and quite logical.
As the ten-year anniversary of the last crisis has arrived this month, it is a fitting time to be thinking about what might cause the next one. In fact, many investors, professional and retail alike, are fairly obsessed with calling the next big blow up. But what might cause it? While trade war and political strife grab a lot of headlines, the real driver of the next crisis will be the Fed. The two big worries on that front are rising rates, but perhaps even more worryingly, its shrinking balance sheet. Crises have historically happened when money supply grew tighter, and that is what is occurring right now.
FINSUM: The markets have never been through the winding down of a major QE program, so it is hard to foresee how this may playout. Logic says that the next big blowout will probably be tied to the end of easing.
The pain rippling through emerging markets has spread from Turkey and Argentina to Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Africa. Some are calling the major selloffs a full blown crisis. Now, a big threat looms as the trouble may spread to the big one: China. The major worry is that the pressure on EMs, coupled with rising US sanctions on China, could conspire to drive the Yuan down as much as 15%. Other EMs would be forced to weaken their currencies, and the pandemonium could hit the global economy and markets in a way it hasn’t so far.
FINSUM: China’s weight looms large not just in an economic sense, but in the market’s psychology. If real trouble started to flare up there, it would quickly spread to western markets.
A couple of weeks ago investors seemed ready to accept that the brief emerging markets selloff was just a minor Turkey-induced tantrum, but would not blossom into something worse. Well, that view seems to be waning, as the selloff in EMs has spread and is starting to have all the hallmarks of a full crisis. One analyst summarized the situation this way, explaining that this has all the hallmarks of an EM crisis: “a large dose of debt and an associated domestic credit bubble, including misallocation of capital into uneconomic trophy projects or financial speculation. Then add: a weak banking sector, budget deficits, current-account gaps, substantial short-term foreign-currency debt and inadequate forex reserves”.
FINSUM:EMs are facing a lot of headwinds, but the economies in most of them seem healthy, so hopefully the problems will be contained to just the most troubled (e.g. Turkey and Argentina).