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Cyclical vs structural: observing the unobservable

October 31, 2018
Region:
The workhorse framework of macroeconomics and monetary policy relies on the build-up of inflationary pressures across the cycle as the economy tightens, and firms have no choice but to raise wages, which ultimately lifts consumer prices. Within that narrative, the estimation of slack in the economy – the output gap – is crucial to monetary policy authorities. A positive output gap means that the economy is away from its long-term steady-state equilibrium, and unsustainable cost pressures are building up. Currently, the OECD / IMF / European Commission estimate of the output gap in the euro-area is slightly positive and reaching close to 1% by the end of next year. [more]

52 (25-36)
May 31, 2018
26
Once more, Europe is becoming messy. We did not expect politics to turn so negative this year. The Italians face a difficult task of restoring investor confidence, and Italy is too important to ignore. But European volatility does not translate into US positivity; we believe the underlying dollar outlook remains negative, and the US midterms will add to political noise. Beyond the dollar, volatility breeds opportunity, and we identify numerous trades in currency crosses that should not be sensitive to messy American or European politics. [more]
May 30, 2018
27
In our 7th annual DB survey of global prices and living standards, we rank 50 cities that are relevant to global financial markets. We consider Quality of Life, Salaries, Rents and Disposable After-Rent Income, and our Weekend Getaway, Cheap Date and Bad Habits indices. We then look at the individual series of the prices of goods and services. Our survey highlights relative prices around the globe and how they have changed over time. [more]
May 23, 2018
Region:
28
QE has been a controversial policy wherever it has been implemented, including in the euro zone. With the economy having expanded at the fastest rate in a decade in 2017, the ECB has already begun to scale back its asset purchases from EUR80bn per month at the peak to EUR30bn currently. The ECB is due to make its next decision on QE this summer. Our baseline expectation is that the ECB will announce in July the intention to finish QE at the end of this year. That will be a signal to markets and the economy that it is just a matter of time before the ECB’s other controversial monetary policy – negative deposit rates – is also withdrawn. [more]
May 10, 2018
Analyst:
29
The Panmunjom Declaration by the two Koreas reiterates their earlier calls not only for a permanent peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but also for economic cooperation as set forth in the 2007 Declaration. The latter identifies various infrastructure projects that would see South Korea integrated into the Eurasian continent through North Korea. These could result in significant cuts to South Korea's transportation and fuel costs. Moreover, broader economic cooperation between the two Koreas would give South Korea access not only to North Korea's cheap, literate, and highly organized labor but also its vast natural resources. Although the Panmunjom Declaration also calls for disarmament of the two Koreas, any significant progress in this area, as well as in broader economic cooperation, depends on a potential US-NK nuclear deal. Given past experience, the negotiation and implementation of a US-NK agreement is likely to take many months at least. In this report, we discuss potential benefits that South Korea could enjoy from economic cooperation with North Korea. [more]
May 10, 2018
30
Emerging Markets and the Global Economy in the Month Ahead: The source of the recent correction is benign: a repricing of US growth with the EU still poised to grow above potential. With few exceptions (such as Turkey and Argentina) EM inflation remains mostly near or below targets so that forex (FX) weakness is unlikely to trigger meaningful CB responses that could disrupt EM growth – which has yet to catch up with DM. However, USD strength poses a more binding and direct risk of tighter credit conditions for EM than US yields. Still, we would need to see EUR/USD closer to 1.05 for credit conditions to bind. [more]
May 2, 2018
31
With trillions in currencies exchanging hands every day, foreign exchange is indisputably the world’s largest and most liquid financial market. Yet in spite of its size, this report argues that it is also likely to be the least "efficient" compared to other asset classes. [more]
April 19, 2018
32
When will the next major default cycle occur? We assess lead indicators of previous default cycles in an attempt to predict the timing of the next one. Most indicators with a relatively short lead time suggest no imminent concerns of rising defaults through 2018. But some longer-term lead time indicators are starting to issue warning signs. Much can change over the next 12-24 months to shift the outlook, but H1 2020 looks a realistic start of the next major default cycle based on our analysis at this stage. [more]
March 7, 2018
36
Inflation data over the past year – and especially over the past week – have highlighted a critical point. Fluctuations in inflation rates for items that are typically insensitive to the busi-ness cycle — which we refer to as acyclical, such as health care and apparel — can drive the overall inflation trajectory and lead to regime shifts in the market’s inflation narrative. The plunge in wireless telephone services prices last March, followed by a string of downside surprises to other acyclical items, spawned a narrative that structural disinflationary forces would prevent inflation from rising. In the same way, recent stronger inflation data led by acyclical items may have revived the narrative that the Phillips curve is, in fact, alive and well and that risks are tilted toward inflation overshooting the Fed’s target. [more]
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