According to ING, markets, economies and central banks are still searching for a new balance, a new equilibrium, of structural transition and cyclical developments, higher inflation and interest rates, stricter monetary policy and loose fiscal policy.
ajor central banks are witnessing stubbornly high inflation and still very few signs that recent monetary tightening will destroy demand and hence bring down inflation.
However, since last summer, central bankers seem to have become increasingly afraid that they may lose their grip on inflation. This is why there is currently so little patience and rather a trend of “high or higher for longer”. No single central bank wants to be on the wrong side of inflation. Longer-term inflation projections are no longer the main anchor.
It is rather a combination of current headline and core inflation, longer-term inflation projections and a large portion of gut feeling. In any case, probably the biggest concern for most central bankers at the moment is relaxing too early. This is why a scenario in which central banks overshoot with their rate hikes is more likely than a scenario in which central banks start cutting rates prematurely. All of this means that the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank (ECB) will continue to hike interest rates in the coming months.
While the global economy will still experience the full impact of the monetary policy tightening of the last year, major economies are clearly out of sync. The reopening of the Chinese economy is only gradually gaining traction and we expect it to last until the second half of the year before the recovery really takes off. The relief that the reopening of the Chinese economy should at least provide for the European economy will not be enough to stage a strong recovery.
The resilience of the US economy has been remarkable. However, according to ING they do see the first cracks in the labour and housing markets and expect a significant slowdown of the economy. Still, with the Inflation Reduction Act and rich energy supply, the US economy should experience a rather textbook-style slowdown, followed by looser monetary policy and consequently a recovery in 2024.