The ongoing slowdown in global trade will weaken global GDP growth further in 2020 – especially in advanced economies skewed towards the manufacturing sector – but a full-blown recession is unlikely, in our view. This situation will encourage policymakers to finally add fiscal stimulus to the policy mix, possibly extending the economic and credit cycles. Monetary policy is unlikely to become much more accommodative and market expectations will have to adjust, likely driving bond volatility higher with a possible bottoming out of core bond yields.
In recent weeks equities rallied along with bond yields as investors reacted to the prospect of a US-China ‘phase one deal’ and fading global recession fears. The value of negative yielding bonds continued to fall, from US$17 trillion over the summer to the current US$12.5 trillion. While equities were previously overshadowed by the excessive gloominess on the global economy and earnings, markets rebounded after corporate results in the US and Europe met or exceeded low expectations, and as economic data did not show any material worsening. The mantra now seems to be ‘not so bad is the new good’.