IMF cites important risks to the outlook for US economy

IMF on the US.

The IMF is out with a series of headlines on the US economy as the coronavirus risks increase.  They say:

  • Cites important risks to outlook for US economy including resurgence in coronavirus cases, systematic increase in property
  • Significant increase in US debt levels creates vulnerabilities; sees risk of extended period of low or negative inflation
  • Repairing US economy will take prolonged period, further policy efforts needed to boost demand, support most vulnerable
  • US should reverse existing trade barriers, tariff increases that are undermining stability of global trade
  • US treatment of undervalued currencies as countervailable subsidy poses significant risk to global trading system
  • Sees areas where US financial oversight could be tightened to further mitigate systematic risks
  • US financial system has proven resilient, but crisis at early state and banks should continue to restrain capital distribution plans
The statements do not give a warm fuzzy feeling

Bank of Canada holds rates at 0.25%, as expected

Highlights of the Bank of Canada rate decision

  • Prior was 0.25% (this is the effective lower bound for Canada)
  • BOC pledges to keep rates at 0.25% until inflation target hit
  • BOC to continue $5B per week in QE; repeats buying will continue “until the recovery is well underway”
  • BOC stands ready to adjust its programs if market conditions warrant
  • Says economic decline “considerably less severe than the worst scenarios presented in the April MPR”
  • BOC sees 40% of activity recovered in Q3 but then “the Bank expects the economy’s recuperation to slow as the pandemic continues to affect confidence and consumer behaviour and as the economy works through structural challenges”
  • Central scenario in in MPR shows economy not likely to return to pre-COVID levels until 2022
  • Sees 2020 GDP down 7.8%, up 5.1% in 2021 and up 3.7% in 2022
  • Says Q2 activity estimated to have fallen about 15% below its level at the end of 2019, economy appears to have bottomed in April
  • Sees US GDP down 8.1% in 2020, up 3.4% in 2021 and up 4.3% in 2022
  • Global GDP forecast down 5.2% in 2020 and up 5.2% in 2021
  • The path for CPI in the next year largely reflects the influence of energy prices
The big news here is this line:
“The Governing Council will hold the policy interest rate at the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2 percent inflation target is sustainably achieved.”
That’s forward guidance indicating no hikes until 2% inflation is ‘substantially achieved’. That last phrase leaves them some wiggle room but this is conditional forward guidance.
Macklem will hold a briefing at 1500 GMT (11 am ET)
Forecasts in the MPR:
BOC forecasts for developed world

Fed: Downside risks eased in late 2019 but virus is a new threat

Comments in the semi-annual monetary policy

  • US economy grew moderately last year
  • Labor market strengthened further and inflation continued to run below target
  • Probability of recession in the next year has ‘fallen noticeably’ in recent months
  • Downside risks seem to have receded in late 2019 due to decrease in trade tensions
  • Global slowdown in manufacturing and trade appears to be nearing an end while consumer spending and services activities continue to hold up
  • Possible virus spillovers present a new risk
  • Asset valuations and business debt are elevated; leverage in the financial sector appears low by historical norms
  • Fragilities in the corporate and financial sector in China are a risk
  • Market conditions were quite calm around year end after added liquidity
There’s nothing groundbreaking here.

China to increase budget deficit in 2016 -More Fiscal Stimulus ?

China Daily reports that fiscal policy in China will become ‘more forceful’ in 2016

An official statement (issued after a national fiscal work conference) from China says

  • China will increase its budget deficit next year
  • Will gradually raise its fiscal deficit ratio
  • Increase government debt issuance and set a limit for newly increased local government debt
  • Will continue to cut taxes

Expectations are that the budget deficit will rise to 3% of GDP

  • Compared with 2.3% for 2015
  • And 2.1% in 2014-

Note – the official statement the China Daily is reporting on was out on Monday, and its impact may well have already flowed through to the AUD, which was up during European and US trade overnight.

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