Disinflation – Causes, Surprises, Prospects | ETF Trends

By Natalia Gurushina
Chief Economist, Emerging Markets Fixed Income

More and more countries are leaving peak inflation behind. Does this mean more room for dovish pivots? It depends…

Downside Inflation Surprises

Wow, what a morning! A sizable downside inflation surprise in the U.S. (including core prices), a sharp disinflation move in the Czech Republic, a nervous breakdown in Brazil’s currency and rates (despite on-going disinflation) and “stingy” credit aggregates in China – and we still have the whole day in front of us. Today’s releases confirmed that disinflation is getting more entrenched in parts of both emerging and developed markets (EM and DM) – a fact definitely appreciated by the market. The speed of disinflation, however, will matter more and more going forward. A larger than expected drop in Czech headline inflation (from 18% to 15.1% year-on-year) suggests that prices might indeed return to the target range sooner than in the rest of the region (see chart below), reassuring the market and the central bank that it is safe to remain on hold. Brazil’s prices continued to moderate (to 6%-handle1), but not as fast as expected, and this upside surprise might have been the “last drop” for the market, which is getting wary of the “chimerical” post-election transition team and President-elect spending plans.

China Growth, Stimulus

China’s domestic inflation pressures remain very low – and today’s surprisingly weak credit aggregates explain why: there is a lack of stimulus and a lack of demand. In all fairness, the October moderation was partly seasonal, and authorities did approve numerous measures to prop up growth (especially on the supply side), but the impact will remain muted while the COVID restrictions stay in place (there is a lot of buzz about potential changes, but nothing concrete yet). Mortgage lending suffered a major setback in October – a sizable sequential decline, and a reminder of near-term growth headwinds (real estate and construction account for a significant chunk of gross domestic product).

Global Policy Rate Outlook

Now, what do all these surprises mean for the policy outlook(s)? The dovish pivot narrative got a boost in the U.S., with the Fed Funds Futures now showing a zero probability of a 75bps hike in the December. The Czech swap curve now prices in about 50bps of cuts in the next 12 months, and today’s inflation surprise can encourage Central European neighbors – specifically Poland – to hold on for a bit longer before disinflation (hopefully) kicks in. Mexico and Peru will announce their policy rate decisions in the afternoon – nascent disinflation leaves room for slower rate hikes. And how about EM’s disinflation trailblazer, Brazil? It looks like concerns about the policy direction started to “contaminate” market expectations. The local swap curve now sees only 85-90bps of cuts in the next year – down form 185-200bps just days ago, and compared to ~500bps of cuts priced in for Chile. Stay tuned!

Chart at a Glance: EM Inflation Targets – Progressing At Different Speeds

Chart at a Glance: EM Inflation Targets - Progressing At Different Speeds

Source: Bloomberg LP.

Originally published by VanEck on 10 November 2022.

For more news, information, and strategy, visit the Beyond Basic Beta Channel.

PMI – Purchasing Managers’ Index: economic indicators derived from monthly surveys of private sector companies. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, and a reading below 50 indicates contraction; ISM – Institute for Supply Management PMI: ISM releases an index based on more than 400 purchasing and supply managers surveys; both in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries; CPI – Consumer Price Index: an index of the variation in prices paid by typical consumers for retail goods and other items; PPI – Producer Price Index: a family of indexes that measures the average change in selling prices received by domestic producers of goods and services over time; PCE inflation – Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index: one measure of U.S. inflation, tracking the change in prices of goods and services purchased by consumers throughout the economy; MSCI – Morgan Stanley Capital International: an American provider of equity, fixed income, hedge fund stock market indexes, and equity portfolio analysis tools; VIX – CBOE Volatility Index: an index created by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), which shows the market’s expectation of 30-day volatility. It is constructed using the implied volatilities on S&P 500 index options.; GBI-EM – JP Morgan’s Government Bond Index – Emerging Markets: comprehensive emerging market debt benchmarks that track local currency bonds issued by Emerging market governments; EMBI – JP Morgan’s Emerging Market Bond Index: JP Morgan’s index of dollar-denominated sovereign bonds issued by a selection of emerging market countries; EMBIG – JP Morgan’s Emerging Market Bond Index Global: tracks total returns for traded external debt instruments in emerging markets.

The information presented does not involve the rendering of personalized investment, financial, legal, or tax advice.  This is not an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned herein.  Certain statements contained herein may constitute projections, forecasts and other forward looking statements, which do not reflect actual results.  Certain information may be provided by third-party sources and, although believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified and its accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed.  Any opinions, projections, forecasts, and forward-looking statements presented herein are valid as the date of this communication and are subject to change. The information herein represents the opinion of the author(s), but not necessarily those of VanEck. 

Investing in international markets carries risks such as currency fluctuation, regulatory risks, economic and political instability. Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors as well as increased volatility, lower trading volume, and less liquidity.  Emerging markets can have greater custodial and operational risks, and less developed legal and accounting systems than developed markets.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.  As with any investment strategy, there is no guarantee that investment objectives will be met and investors may lose money.  Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market.  Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.