Tags: Authers | 2014 | Fed | economic

FT: Global Economic Outlook Is Rosy, Except for a Few Minefields

Friday, 13 Dec 2013 12:51 PM

By John Morgan

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Many investment pros believe the world economy in 2014 will enjoy its best year since the financial crisis, but the Financial Times' John Authers notes there are some tricky traps and hazards that must be avoided first.

As the global recovery proceeds, Authers expects central banks will start withdrawing stimulus, and companies will start spending again.

"This normalization means that investment returns will not match this year's results — U.S. stocks, in particular, have already priced in a recovery, higher rates will mean lower returns on stocks, and higher capex will eat into margins. Nevertheless, the process will proceed smoothly," he writes.

Editor’s Note:
New Video: Obama Plans to Redistribute Seniors’ Wealth

Where could this rosy scenario go wrong?

According to the Times, there is still a possibility deflation could take stronger root in Europe, making debt more expensive.

A second potential pitfall would be if Japan — a hugely indebted nation — manages to bring back inflation but no growth with its ultra-loose monetary policy. If that happens, Japan could see a "collapse of confidence in its bonds" that would spark international contagion.

Authers also speculates some emerging markets — notably Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa — could take a tumble when the Federal Reserve starts to taper. In addition, a potential collapse in global oil prices in 2014 might help some corporate bottom lines, but could also fuel more geopolitical problems.

There are two final ugly scenarios that could have a profound ripple effect on the world economy, he adds. One would be if an economic bubble in China bursts and its reliable hyper-growth is taken out of the global equation.

The last may be among the most serious, which involves what could happen in the U.S. when the Fed actually begins trimming its massive monthly asset purchases.

"A gentle rise in bond yields as the economy normalizes would be healthy," Authers explains. "A swift rise towards 5 percent, as the market overreacted to a Fed announcement, could put everything else at risk."

The heady 2013 stock market gains in the United States are unlikely to be repeated next year, so the new best bet may be to invest in Europe, which is not as far along in its economic recovery, The Fiscal Times reports.

Deutsche Bank's wealth management division is forecasting the S&P 500 will gain 6 percent in 2014, but the major Eurozone indexes will climb 10 percent to 11 percent on the back of expected earnings growth, The Fiscal Times says.

Editor’s Note: New Video: Obama Plans to Redistribute Seniors’ Wealth

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