Monthly Macro Risk Monitor – 3 Apr 19

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My greatest discovery was that a man must study underlying conditions, to size them so as to be able to anticipate probabilities. – Jesse Livermore

In this recurring monthly analysis, we will look at three global risk factors in order to assess the current market state and attempt to foresee risks on the horizon.  The factors that we will be using, in order of weight, are:

  • Global Monetary Policy
  • Global Volatility
  • Global PMI readings

Together, they can assist us in shaping up underlying macro conditions, so we don’t get caught off guard by some change in market dynamics that was foreseeable.

Global Monetary Policy Stance

Source: cfr.org

We use Global Monetary Policy to evaluate inflation risks, deflation risks, and interest rate risk.

The G3 central banks have started to ease their stance. They are picking up risks to growth, which are accompanied by decent price pressures also. This signal is influential and has turned the market’s attention towards the PMI reports and inflation reports.

Global Volatility Meter

Source: TradingView

We use the Global Volatility Monitor to capture economic growth risks and liquidity risks.Since we are tracking the implied volatility on the S&P 500, the Eurostoxx and Crude Oil, we can see the composite indicator as “the cost of hedging a price decline” in each market.

Markets are currently complacent in terms of volatility expectations. Volatility is within no man’s land, not low enough to call for a bounce, but not high enough to worry. Also, mirroring this, the weekly market type for the risk on/off measure is sideways and volatility is contracting a tad.

There are no definite signs from the volatility levels this month.

Global PMI Monitor

Source: IHS Markit

We use the Markit/JPM Global PMI analysis as a gauge for economic growth risks, inflation risks and deflation risks. PMIs are known to be a leading indicator for GDP growth rates.

PMIs are dropping across the globe and only the US has shown some resilience in March. The Eurozone has instead shown a rapid deterioration. This is the current focus for markets: growth fears. PMI reports, GDP reports and inflation data are all at the top of the radar these days so watch them closely as they are signalling a slowdown into 2020.

To Sum Up

Our Macro Risk Monitor (MRM) is currently showing a deterioration in global growth which has caused central banks to shift their stance to a neutral/cautious stance. Volatility readings are neutral and in some cases complacent. Traders will be watching the upcoming GDP, PMI and inflation reports very closely because lower growth with strong inflation leads to stagflation and that’s not a pretty picture.

About The Macro Risk Monitor

What we are doing is neither new nor original. Anyone with a basic comprehension of macroeconomic theory, and a bit of real world experience, can do the same thing. We’re just doing it for you.  What follows is a brief explanation of why we are monitoring precisely Monetary Policy, Volatility and Purchasing Managers’ Index.

  • During periods of real (non-inflationary) growth, the main cyclical classes (Developed and Emerging Market Equities, Real Estate, High Yield Bonds) tend to have low volatility.
  • Vice versa, during periods of economic uncertainty or outright contraction, cyclical assets have high volatility.
  • However, we can also have inflationary growth, which is the best environment for Commodities (Energy, Industrial Metals).

When volatility is high, or global growth expectations (measured via the PMI) are low and monetary policy is tight/tightening, there is a collision of risk factors that produces a high uncertainty/high risk environment that is usually only favourable to fixed income and counter-cyclical assets.

When volatility is low, or global growth expecatations (measured via the PMI) are high and monetary policy is loose/loosening, there is a combination of easing factors that produces a low uncertainty/low risk environment that is favourable to cyclical asset classes.

By using just these three measures, we can create discrete market environments that can assist in selecting the right asset class to target given the current situation.

If any of this is a bit foreign or complex, our Forex Fundamentals Mastery course can bring you up to speed.

About the Author

Justin is a Forex trader and Coach. He is co-owner of www.fxrenew.com, a provider of Forex signals from ex-bank and hedge fund traders (get a free trial), or get FREE access to the Advanced Forex Course for Smart Traders. If you like his writing you can subscribe to the newsletter for free.

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