Low Inflation Consensus May Too Strong

The failure of central-bank models to forecast the slowdown in global inflation “leaves investors in the dark about the most important economic measure today and why it’s so low,” according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.

Contradictory messages from the bond, equity and commodities markets is “adding to the confusion from central banks struggling with the breakdown of their inflation models,” the article says. The yield curve has been flattening such that 10-year bond yields are a paltry .77 percentage points higher than two-year bonds. While this is often a red flag, the low-growth environment, the article says, “doesn’t signal immediate trouble either.”

According to the article, the market says, is being supported by “so-called” growth stocks, “less reliant on economic expansion for profits than on new technology and business models.” According to OppenheimerFund’s CIO Krishna Memani, investors would be well served to “stick with what’s worked: either look outside the U.S. or in the U.S., stick to larger growth stocks rather than shares dependent on faster economic growth.”

He adds, “What the long end [of the bond market] is really telling you more than anything else is that inflation and inflations expectations are nonexistent.”