In this forecast we look forward to 2018, with a perhaps somewhat brighter outlook for the domestic UK economy than the market consensus. Much of the commentary surrounding the UK is very negative, but looking at the data itself brings to mind the line from Russell Howard’s TV show: “It’s not all doom and gloom!”
Many of the recent comments around fixed income have referred to the impact on the asset class of global monetary tightening. For example, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) and Bank of Canada (BoC) have already raised interest rates, the Bank of England (BoE) have followed suit and, in January, the European Central Bank (ECB) will begin tapering their huge quantitative easing programme.
Historically, inflation has tended to be correlated to the strength of the labour market. As unemployment decreases, the pool of available labour shrinks, enabling workers to demand higher wages. This feeds through to the overall price level, putting upward pressure on inflation. Today, however, we are seeing a puzzling global macroeconomic backdrop.
The second quarter of 2017 was marked by central banks’ communication returning as the main driver of performance of financial markets. The US Federal Reserve (Fed), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Canada (BoC) guided investors towards an intention to normalise their monetary policies by reaffirming their confidence that the current global recovery will bring inflation near their 2% target.