We have mentioned a number of times that China had experienced a very unpleasant “second-hand” tightening due to its peg to the dollar. Its trade competitiveness has suffered tremendously. With a weaker dollar the Chinese Yuan can re-gain some of its competitiveness while maintaining its peg to the dollar. A rare win-win in today’s convoluted world of finance.
Our current view is the lift-off will be December or later. Assuming inflation will pick up and the Fed hikes the rate by the end of 2015, stocks will perform relatively well, with international stocks a better bet than U.S. stocks.
We’ve been highlighting the overinvestment (or malinvestment) risks in commodity-oriented equity sectors for the past three years, but we certainly did not foresee those risks exploding the way they have in the oil market over the last seven months.
Xenophobia continues to be a handsomely rewarded trait for U.S.-based equity investors, with the MSCI World Ex USA Index down 3.8% YTD through December 3rd—and now (incredibly) unchanged from its May 2011 high. Comparable period gains for the S&P 500 are +12.2% YTD and +50% from spring 2011 highs.