From deflation to reflation, from bonds to equities

Although Pictet Wealth Management does not expect a significant acceleration in real global economic growth next year, it believes 2017 will see an upturn in price pressures that spark a rise in nominal GDP growth and provides momentum for global reflation.

In December’s Perspectives, Pictet Wealth Management’s head asset of asset allocation and macro research, Christophe Donay, discusses the implications of this, his central scenario, for the global economy and financial markets. While Donay expects price pressures to pick up and generate global reflation, he believes that “the pace of change will not be uniform” and that major economies will remain “desynchronized, with fiscal and budget policies that remain non-cooperative”.

Nonetheless, after years of disinflation, and even deflation in countries like Japan, “the global economy seems on the verge of a cyclical regime shift”, Donay writes. This shift could impact major asset classes, “favouring equities at the expense of bonds”, while the trend towards US dollar appreciation that started four years ago should continue.

Although equities are expensive, writes Donay, Pictet’s central scenario is that “the rise in long- term interest rates will not be enough to impair prospects for equities” as long as the rate rises prove orderly. But along with impairing the attractiveness of sovereign bonds, rising rates cast a shadow over investment-grade corporate bonds.

Also in Perspectives, Pictet Wealth Management’s chief investment officer, Cesar Perez Ruiz, writes that 2017 will be marked not only by a turn towards fiscal policy and away from monetary policy and by a rise in the growth of corporate earnings for the first time in two years, but also by the “sheer unpredictability” of the new US president, Donald Trump, “a populist…whose economic ideas still need fleshing out”.