The first estimate of Q1 US GDP growth came in at 2.3% on Friday afternoon, slightly ahead of consensus expectations but much lower than the 2.9% seen in the previous quarter. Some may see this as a disappointment and a further sign that the global economic recovery is slowing. However, we believe Q1 GDP numbers have structural flaws, which means that the US Federal Reserve (Fed) is unlikely to reverse their plans for the trajectory of interest rates.
In February, a surge in inflation expectations in the context of strong global growth, combined with central banks hinting at upcoming additional rate rises caused a spike in government bond yields globally. As a result, fixed income assets have been volatile, but have held up far better than equities. Why?
Globally, government bond yields have remained incredibly low, despite the cyclical pick-up we have seen in economic growth in recent times. Nowhere is this more evident than the Eurozone, which continues to post strong economic data. We believe bond markets need to catch up with the fundamental reality.