Outlook for 2017

Rising golden business bull in color background


If interest rates must rise a tad, who cares? More important for equity-driven investors is the improved outlook for corporate profits from a combination of fiscal stimulation and a business-friendly administration.

If the recent performance of equity and bond markets is any guide, this view dominates investor thinking. Since the financial crisis eight years ago, the rise in equity markets had been driven by ZIRP and the expansion of credit aimed at financial assets. Now equities are on firmer ground, but this is a view that completely ignores the monetary flows upon which asset values depend. The reason asset values are at current levels is because there has been an excess of monetary inflation over that absorbed by the non-financial economy.

Furthermore, demand from non-financials has been constrained by the continuing wealth-transfer effect of monetary inflation from ordinary people, benefitting the banks and the earlier recipients of the new credit created. This devaluation of earnings and savings is under-recorded by government inflation statistics, but the large majority of people in ordinary occupations outside financial centres have been progressively impoverished, relative to the minority benefiting from the inflation of financial assets prices. No wonder the economy stagnates.



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