13 June 2018 FT — Articles to Read

13 June 2018

Question: According to MSN:Money, what is the average rate for a credit card interest?

US Fed Low-rates guidance shuffles towards retirement – Pg. 2

–          Accelerating growth and blockbuster hiring numbers will keep the US Federal Reserve on a steady path towards tighter monetary policy this week despite global risks including the threat of a Donald Trump-induced trade war and emerging market strains

–          The target range for the federal funds rate is likely to be lifted by another quarter point, bringing rates to 1.75-2.00%, in the seventh rise of the current cycle

–          One or two further increases will be signaled for the remainder of the year, with more to come in 2019

–          …could start phasing out the low-rates guidance the central bank deployed during the crisis

–          Unemployment has fallen to 3.8%, far below the Fed’s 4.5% estimate of its sustainable level.  Core inflation is getting nearer to target after repeated disappointments last year

–          Adding zest to the rebound is a fiscal stimulus package that twins $1.5tn of tax cuts with a $300bn rise in federal spending, boosting the growth rate of real GDP by about 0.75% this year and next

–          The most recent set of forecasts from the Fed put the federal funds rate at 3.4% in 2020, above the estimated long-run level of 2.9%

–          The central bank has also been signaling it will be comfortable if inflation overshoots its inflation target for a while

–          Trade is among the threats on the Fed’s radar, given the danger of further tit-for-tat escalation…

–          Emerging market vulnerabilities are another, given the possibility of capital flight driven by tightening monetary policy in the US and euro area

Fund managers worry about corporate debt and rekindle interest in US stocks – Pg. 19

–          Fund managers are growing increasingly nervous about the amount of corporate debt, and want companies to improve their balance sheets

–          The IMF has repeatedly raised concerns that the climate of easy monetary policy has led to an excessive allocation of credit to companies.  S&P global warned that the proportion of highly leveraged corporates had risen from 32% in 2007 to 37% ten years later, a risk that was marked by the low rate of defaults

–          Nearly two-thirds of respondents say the US is the best region for offering a return on profit

–          If the US is in vogue, alongside defensive stocks, out of favour are banks, emerging markets and Eurozone stocks

–          Commodity allocations are at there highest in eight years, and tech stocks are still strongly favoured for the fifth month in succession

–          Fund managers were confident in the Fed’s rate policy but thought a fall in US inflation would be the most likely reason for the central bank to stop tightening.  They also believed the S&P 500 would peak at 3040 – a 9% premium to current levels – and did not expect a recession until the first half of 2020

–          They considered the biggest risks to be a trade war, a central bank policy mistake, and a euro or emerging market debt crisis


Answer: 17%