Interest Rate Outlook: Global Growth Could Push US Yields Higher

Invesco Fixed Income shares its views of rates around the world

At Invesco Fixed Income, we believe strong global growth should ultimately pressure US interest rates upward as global monetary policy tightens. In the short term, however, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) has indicated that it does not intend to tighten interest rates quickly. Moves from other central banks, such as the European Central Bank (ECB), will likely drive price action in longer-dated US Treasuries, in our view. As global growth continues to improve, other global central banks’ actions may catalyze a move higher in US Treasury yields.

Below is an overview of the Invesco Fixed Income team’s outlook for interest rates in other key world economies:

We expect the ECB to move away from its ultra-dovish stance in the second quarter, clearing the way for a higher yield environment. Growth and inflation data continue to improve in the euro area, with headline inflation back to the ECB’s 2% target.1 Nevertheless, ECB President Mario Draghi has maintained his dovish rhetoric, although it may become more difficult after the April 23 French election. To placate the northern European countries already experiencing inflation, the ECB might raise short-term rates while maintaining quantitative easing (QE) through year end.

Short-term government bond yields rose as liquidity tightened at the end of the first quarter and more stringent macro-prudential assessment (MPA) measures were implemented by the central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). Long-term government bond yields, on the other hand, were dragged down by market expectations of slowing growth later this year and the PBoC’s longer-tenor liquidity injection. We expect onshore bond yields to decline in April after the recent funding tightness and volatility. However, we think short-term rates will remain elevated, as the PBoC’s efforts to reduce financial leverage are expected to continue.

The ten-year Japanese government bond yield continues to trade around zero. Inflation is on the rise, but still well short of the Bank of Japan’s 2% inflation target. As a result, we do not expect tapering in bond purchases (or any other adjustments to policy) anytime soon. The near-term focus will likely be on the spring wage negotiations, which have the potential to boost inflation, but tend to underwhelm. We see no reason for this year to be any different. It is, therefore, difficult to see how Japan will reach its inflation target on a sustainable basis.

The UK government triggered Article 50 on March 29, setting off a two-year timetable to agree the terms of its departure from the European Union and to negotiate a new trading arrangement with the bloc. The European approach to these talks should become clearer after an April 29 summit, organized to discuss negotiation tactics. We would expect the opening stance of the Europeans to be one that suggests a difficult period of negotiation ahead, with the “divorce” settlement being the most contentious issue in the early stages. The Europeans are believed to want to agree to a financial settlement before turning their attention to future trading arrangements. The UK government, meanwhile, is believed to prefer discussing the settlement and future trading arrangements, hand in hand. It is difficult to see how everything will be resolved within the two-year time frame. We do not expect the Brexit negotiations to cause interest rates to break out of their recent trading range in the near term.

The 10-year Canadian government bond yield has retreated from its 2017 peak of 1.87% and currently sits in the middle of this year’s range of 1.61% to 1.87%.2 Economic data have generally been picking up this year with employment growth showing particular strength. The Bank of Canada has kept monetary policy on hold recently, but remains wary of persistent economic slack. We believe the current trading range is likely to persist unless global economic growth picks up further.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) held rates steady in March at 1.50%, as expected.3 The statement was a near repeat of February’s, with the RBA conveying continued positive expectations for the economy. With the RBA constructive and signs of economic strength in the data, it is highly unlikely that the RBA will need to lower the cash rate further. In fact, the market is now expecting the next move to be a rise in rates. However, the lack of inflation, especially in wages, despite a pick-up in growth, should keep the RBA on hold. Therefore, we expect Australian rates to be range bound in the near future and we maintain a neutral stance versus US rates.

With contributions from James Ong, Senior Macro Strategist; Sean Connery, Portfolio Manager; Brian Schneider, Head of North American Rates; Scott Case, Portfolio Manager; Josef Portelli, Portfolio Manager; Ken Hu, CIO Asia Pacific; Yi Hu, Senior Credit Analyst; and Alex Schwiersch, Portfolio Manager.

1 Source: European Central Bank, March 23, 2017

2 Source: Bloomberg L.P., data as of March 23, 2017. 2017 high of 1.87% on March 13, 2017. 2017 low of 1.61% on Feb. 24, 2017.

3 Source: Reserve Bank of Australia, March 7, 2017

Robert B. Waldner, Jr., CFA
Chief Strategist and Head of Multi-Sector
Rob Waldner is Chief Strategist and Head of Multi-Sector for Invesco Fixed Income (IFI). Mr. Waldner has overall management responsibility for the IFI public credit asset class teams and the Multi-Sector team. In this role, he is responsible for oversight of the portfolio construction process for IFI’s public security portfolios. Mr. Waldner chairs the IFI Investment Strategy team and is responsible for oversight of the overall IFI investment process. He joined Invesco in 2013.

Prior to joining Invesco, Mr. Waldner worked with Franklin Templeton for 17 years. At Franklin Templeton, he was a senior strategist and senior portfolio manager. He was the lead manager for Franklin absolute return strategies, and a member of the Fixed Income Policy Committee. Mr. Waldner was instrumental in the launch of a number of new strategies on the Franklin Templeton fixed income platform. Previously, Mr. Waldner was a member of the Macro team at Omega Advisors and a portfolio manager with Glaxo (Bermuda) Ltd. He entered the industry in 1986.

Mr. Waldner earned a BSE degree in civil engineering from Princeton University, graduating magna cum laude in 1986. He is a CFA charterholder.

Important information

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Monetary policy consists of the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determines the size and rate of growth of the money supply, which in turn affects interest rates.

The risks of investing in securities of foreign issuers, including emerging market issuers, can include fluctuations in foreign currencies, political and economic instability, and foreign taxation issues.

The performance of an investment concentrated in issuers of a certain region or country is expected to be closely tied to conditions within that region and to be more volatile than more geographically diversified investments.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation of the suitability of any investment strategy for a particular investor. Invesco does not provide tax advice. The tax information contained herein is general and is not exhaustive by nature. Federal and state tax laws are complex and constantly changing. Investors should always consult their own legal or tax professional for information concerning their individual situation. The opinions expressed are those of the authors, are based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. These opinions may differ from those of other Invesco investment professionals.

All data provided by Invesco unless otherwise noted.

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