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CIO Flash
Staying on course in volatile markets
May 8, 2015
Shaky markets – a turning point or an entry point?
— Volatility has increased yet further in a number of asset classes. For example, 10-year Bunds lost 2.5% intraday on Thursday, taking
yields from 0.05% up to 0.76% in just a few days. Although market moves are not of the amplitude recorded during last October’s flash
crash – when 10-year U.S.-Treasury yields lost 40 basis points within an hour – we reiterate our warning issued then that these sharp
market moves are here to stay. Increasing illiquidity in certain market segments and banks’ scaled-down trading desks are having a
strong impact on volatility. Bond markets also suffer from being so heavily driven by central-bank action that pricing on a fundamental
basis has become all but impossible.
— While inflation expectations might be changing as discussed below, we don’t believe that recent economic data warrants these price
movements. Europe’s recovery is on track and even if U.S. signals are mixed, these suggest only a slight postponement of a pickup in
momentum. Of course, the big moves in currencies, equities, bonds and commodities so far this year have called for portfolio
realignments, profit taking and repositioning, but we do not see them in general as marking the end of existing asset-class trends.
— In line with our 2015 strategy, as outlined last autumn, which predicted that market volatility would increase and offer good investment
opportunities, we stay strategically constructive on equities, higher-yielding fixed income and Bunds. From a tactical perspective, better
entry points in some asset classes may be yet to come.
— There are, to the surprise of some, Bund-sellers around, but we further believe that the ECB’s buying program will continue to support
European bonds directly and U.S. Treasuries indirectly. Recent commodity-price increases, however, will lead to a reassessment of
inflation targets. Deflation fears have certainly been priced out of bond markets.
— Investor nervousness may also stem from a fear that the U.S. economy is at a tipping point after weak Q1 data. Upcoming Q2 data will
be key to investors’ expectations regarding the likelihood of a U.S. Federal Reserve Board (Fed) rate hike in September.
In sum, we believe that cross-asset correlations have been breaking down as a consensus-driven market has moved from risk-on to risk-off
mode, playing a pivotal role in this sell-off.
Market movers and shakers
The most striking price moves have come from U.S. and European bonds. Within two weeks, 30-year U.S. Treasuries have lost over 7% in
value and 10-year Bunds almost 5%. Trading volumes in Treasuries have been four times their average since the flash crash in October
2014. Most European currencies gained 5-6% against the U.S. dollar. Oil extended its rally, gaining nearly another 10%, as did aluminum,
and iron ore increasing by 14%. Global equities stayed relatively stable, but the DAX and the STOXX Europe 600 have fallen almost 6%
from their recent peaks, underlining the strong correlation between EUR/USD and the relative strength of European and U.S. stocks.
Exchange-traded fund (ETF) flows from U.S. to Eurozone equity markets have all but dried up, having been high in March and April.
Asset classes – realign, reinvest or rethink completely?
— Equities: While we stick to equities as our preferred asset class in this low-yield environment, four weeks ago we became tactically more
cautious on most markets and believe that more attractive entry points will arise over the next few months.
— Currencies: Diverging central-bank policies let us stick to our view that U.S. dollar and euro will reach parity in a volatile environment
over the next twelve months. In essence, the euro and yen have become funding currencies, the U.S. dollar an investment currency.
— Fixed income: Fixed income is likely to remain one of the most volatile asset classes. Euro-denominated bonds, in particular, are in
uncharted waters, courtesy of the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) massive interventions. U.S. Treasuries will continue to be
significantly influenced by ECB policy, as dovish and hawkish signals on the United States balance out. While inflation fears have
replaced deflation fears, we believe it will take more time before inflation gets fully priced into bond prices.
— Oil: While the upward movement of oil prices has not surprised us, the speed of the recovery has. Our twelve-month view for WTI
remains at $70/b as we believe supply/ demand readjustments could lose momentum.
Investments are subject to various risks, including market fluctuations, regulatory change, counterparty risk, possible delays in
repayment and loss of income and principal invested. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may not recover the
amount originally invested at any point in time.
Deutsche AWM expectations 2015. Forecasts are based on assumptions, estimates, opinions and hypothetical
models or analysis which may prove to be incorrect. No assurance can be given that any forecast or target will
be achieved; Deutsche AWM Investment GmbH, CIO Office; Deutsche Bank AG
CIO Flash – Staying on course in volatile markets, May, 8, 2015
Explanation of terms
Barrel (b) – A barrel (b) is the commonly used unit to measure crude oil. One barrel is about 159 liters.
Basis point (bp) – One basis point equals 1/100 of a percentage point.
Bunds – Bunds is a commonly used term for bonds issued by the German federal government with a maturity of
10 years.
DAX – The DAX tracks the performance of the 30 major German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock
Deflation – Describes a sustained decline in an economy’s overall price level.
ETF – An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a security that tracks an index or asset like an index fund, but trades
like a stock on an exchange.
Euro – The euro (EUR) is the official currency of the Eurozone.
European Central Bank (ECB) – The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank for the euro. It
administers the monetary policy of the Eurozone, which consists of 19 European Union member states.
Eurozone – The Eurozone is formed of 19 European Union member states that have adopted the euro as their
common currency and sole legal tender.
U.S. Federal Reserve Board (Fed) – The U.S. Federal Reserve Board (Fed) is the board of governors of the
Federal Reserve; it implements U.S. monetary policy.
Flash crash – Sudden sharp price movement in a publicly traded security for no apparent fundamental reason
that is reversed in short time.
EUR/USD – An abbreviation for the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the euro.
Inflation – Inflation describes the increase in an economy’s overall price level.
Liquidity – Liquidity refers to the ability to sell securities quickly without having to significantly reduce the price.
STOXX Europe 600 – The STOXX Europe 600 tracks the performance of 600 company stocks from the
European region.
U.S. dollar (USD) – The U.S. dollar is the official currency of the United States.
U.S. Treasuries – Treasuries are fixed-interest U.S. government debt securities with different maturities.
Treasury bills, also T-bills, mature in one year or less. Treasury notes, also T-notes, mature in two to ten years.
Treasury Bonds, also T-Bonds, mature in twenty to thirty years.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) – West Texas Intermediate is a grade of crude oil which is used as a
benchmark in oil pricing.
Yen – Yen is the local currency of Japan.
Yield – Yield describes the income return on an investment. This refers to the interest or dividends received from
a security and is usually expressed annually as a percentage based on the investment's cost.
CIO Flash – Staying on course in volatile markets, May, 8, 2015
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CIO Flash – Staying on course in volatile markets, May, 8, 2015
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CIO Flash – Staying on course in volatile markets, May, 8, 2015