Pimco Strategist on Trump and the Global Savings Glut

A study conducted by economists at the Bank of England found that the vast majority of the 450-basis point decline in global interest rates since the 1980s was due to a decreased desire in saving and investing rather than lower potential economic growth. This according to a Bloomberg article by Pimco managing director Joachim Fels, who shares his thoughts on the potential impact of the Trump administration in this regard.

Fels argues that “quite a few aspects of President-elect Trump’s potential policies might actually work toward lowering, not increasing, that natural or equilibrium interest rate rather than increasing it.” He cites the proposed reduction in personal and corporate taxes, higher infrastructure spending, curbs on immigration and protectionist trade policies as contributing factors.

Tax reform, Fels says, could lead to an increase in wealth and income inequality and exacerbate what he calls the “savings glut,” and curbing immigration could perpetuate a “net loss to global potential growth.” Some factors, according to Fels, are unlikely to change regardless of Trump’s initiatives—such as global demographics and trade surpluses.

However, Fels suggests that the new administration could bolster global interest rates by raising U.S potential output growth and a higher fiscal deficit caused by a combination of tax cuts and higher infrastructure and/or defense spending.

Fels summarizes his argument: “The forces that are currently holding down global growth, inflation and interest rates remain strong and Trumponomics is unlikely to change them in any significant way, unless we get a massive increase in government-debt-financed infrastructure spending.”