Most importantly, central banks are finally being forced to relinquish some of their control over markets. This is not occurring for any altruistic reason. Rather it has just become a financially untenable position to maintain.
Richard Werner’s 2001 ‘Princes of the Yen’ decried the power of mandate-lacking central banks, particularly in Japan, and their ability to influence economic policy. This now looks certain to change.
More broadly, these policy changes highlight a few important macro-economic trends.
Firstly, relative monetary policy is shifting in favour of the US, but due to easing policies from other central banks rather than tightening from the Fed.
There is pressure on the Bank of Korea to ease its policy and lower rates (although it didn’t last week), cuts are expected in Australia, the Reserve Bank of India cut this week, the European Central Bank has a negative deposit rate and has now been joined there by the SNB, and we have recently revised our call for hikes in NZ.
Secondly, it implies the required tightening in the US is coming through the USD rather than through interest rates, and is likely continue to do so.
Both factors suggest that the global bond rally will persist for the mean time. Of course this thinking is also consistent with the view the USD is in a cyclical (and possibly secular) bull market.
In the short term though the corrective tone in currencies is likely to remain. USD/JPY is under some downward pressure, and it seems clear that the market has quite substantial short positions in AUD/USD. A position adjustment which drove the AUD higher would do little to upset what is becoming a well-established longer-term downtrend.