Sunday, August 25, 2013

Taper Talk

Interest rates are going up, let's face it. And it doesn't really matter where you look across the Capital Markets Universe, investors are preparing for price volatility.

The emerging market economies will be facing capital flights as investors seek better inflation adjusted yields, while the developed economies will be facing capital flights as investors seek rising yields and better growth prospects. The end effects being the same, currency depreciation against the dollar and all the macro-economic side-effects that result.

The countries with the smallest foreign exchange reserves will carry the extra risk of demand for dollars outstripping their ability to supply. But I think in the spirit of "First Do No Harm", the Fed shouldn't have too many arguments about swap agreements with the central banks in most need.

Europe relative to the U.S. is not so clear in the face of Taper Talk and beyond. High unemployment and soft real estate demand would seem to be pushing inflation expectations down, and if that leads to downward pressure on prices, the Euro might stand a chance of further appreciation against the dollar over the long term.

The Yen may be depreciating against the dollar now, and the Fed is going to be lending them a hand inadvertently. But the U.S. economy is going to stabilize and then normalize, and the Fed will finally be able to get back to sitting on its hands. Japan's birthrate more than likely wouldn't have increased in any meaningful way, and their immigration policies might still not be as open as may be needed. The fundamental demand for more, which pushes prices higher and drives investment is not being supported.