As expected by the market, the Bank of England (BoE) embarked on its first monetary tightening cycle in a decade last Thursday, with the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voting to hike interest rates to 0.50%. Although this will be some relief for long-suffering savers, rates still remain incredibly low in a historical context.
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.
Despite heightened geopolitical risk, questionable political decision-making and monetary policy uncertainty, markets have been remarkably stable so far in 2017. At Canada Life Investments, our quarterly asset mix meetings – which bring together all of our investment professionals – provide us with the opportunity to set out our expectations for asset prices for the quarter ahead.
The 9 August 2017 was regarded by many as the 10 year anniversary of the global financial crisis. The European Central Bank (ECB) and the US Federal Reserve (Fed) ploughed c. £45 billion into financial markets that day as the credit crunch began. Astonishingly, the UK base rate on that day stood at 5.75%. Since the 5 March 2009, it has only ever been 0.50% or lower.