Schroders Chief Economist downgrades 2019 global growth forecast to 2.9%

Fed rates expected to peak at 3% before falling in 2020. Tough environment for emerging economies, but potential relief as US dollar turns.

12-04-2018
Stock-market-chart

Schroders Chief Economist Keith Wade downgrades forecast for 2019 global growth to 2.9% from 3.1%, and 2018 forecast to remain at 3.3%. The revised expectation was driven by the slower economic growth across major economies, which appears to be converging downward as the US slows and others fail to strengthen.

Keith Wade commented: “Our US growth is forecast at 2.4% in 2019. With core inflation rising, we expect another rate hike in December and two more in 2019 before pausing at 3% by mid-2019. However, as US fiscal stimulus fades and the economy further slows, the Fed is forecast to cut rates twice and should halt quantitative tightening in 2020.”

“We expect Eurozone growth to moderate to 1.6% in 2019, as the full effects from the US–China trade tension hits European exporters. Inflation is expected to remain under 2%, with higher energy price inflation in 2018 replaced by higher core inflation in 2019. The ECB is likely to end quantitative easing this year, before raising interest rates twice in 2019 and twice again in 2020.

“We think emerging economies could slow to 4.5% in 2019, as trade tensions and softer tech demand has impacted the wider Asian economies. However, with a peak in US rates and the start of tightening cycles elsewhere, we expect the US dollar to weaken in 2019 which could be the silver lining for more growth and less inflation across emerging markets.”

China: secular slowdown continues

Schroders has made no changes to its China growth forecast, which remains at 6.2% for 2019, but have altered its expectations around the currency.

Keith Wade said: “We do not think inflation will seriously breach the 3% inflation target, leaving monetary policy room to manoeuvre as global growth slows more than previously expected.”

“Moving into 2020, we expect growth to slow further to 6%. This would allow the government to declare victory on its target of doubling GDP and per capita incomes from their 2010 level. However, this will likely require further policy support given the headwinds faced by the economy such as trade and demographics.”

What can investors do in 2019?

Given the continued expectation of market volatility, Patrick Brenner, Head of Multi-Asset Investments, Asia, believes that investment opportunities remain largely in equities.

Global equities expected to deliver positive returns

Schroders believes that the earnings growth of global equities remains supportive. The 2019 global earning-per-shares growth forecast is close to 10%, although it is lower compared to 16% in 2018.

Patrick Brenner said: “Our models suggest valuations are turning more reasonable after recent corrections. However, this improvement has come with worsening momentum signals, which are approaching negative territory. With no surprises in the US mid-terms results, we expect investors to soon shift their attention towards fundamentals, including earnings, and also the Federal Reserve.”

Emerging markets expected to outperform Europe equities

Schroders data showed that emerging markets offers attractive valuations compared to Europe. The earnings growth of current year is 14.9% in emerging markets and 7.4% in Europe.

Brenner added: “Emerging markets equities valuations are attractive, especially following the significant sell-off so far this year. Investors may find the strong emerging markets earnings story attractive in coming months. Comparing this to Europe, of which valuations appear to be reasonable, momentum and cyclical indicators are still neutral.”

“Looking at the overall Asia Pacific ex-Japan region, the ongoing trade tension developments, together with local country-specific risk factors, pose a threat to profits, but we keep a neutral stance. The bright spot appears to be Japan, of which we retain a positive view. Attractive Japanese valuations, improving return on equity and increasing capital expenditure are compelling reasons for optimism.”

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