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Yearly Outlook 2011



Saxo Bank, the online trading and investment specialist, tends to be somewhat more pessimistic than the average financial analyst and were quite pessimistic on the whole recovery since 2003, assuming ...

Saxo Bank, the online trading and investment specialist, tends to be somewhat more pessimistic than the average financial analyst and were quite pessimistic on the whole recovery since 2003, assuming the low-rate environment would lead to speculative excesses worse than that of the dot-com bubble. Events during 2008, unfortunately, proved the thesis right.



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Yearly Outlook  2011 Yearly Outlook 2011 Document Transcript

  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –IntroductionSaxo Bank, the online trading and investment specialist, tends to be somewhat more pessimistic than the average financial ana-lyst and were quite pessimistic on the whole recovery since 2003, assuming the low-rate environment would lead to speculativeexcesses worse than that of the dot-com bubble. Events during 2008, unfortunately, proved the thesis right.As we head into 2011, Saxo Bank’s analysts worry about the quality of the foundation on which the recovery that began in 2009is built. While the global economy has improved, we believe that we’re dealing with a stimulus-induced cyclical recovery withinthe context of a secular deleveraging process. There is still too much debt in the system and the we’re concerned that the failureto properly address the need to reduce private and especially public debt levels will result in a relatively halting recovery withrather weak, if still positive, growth in the developed countries in 2011.The attempts by politicians and central banks to sweep the problems generated by the past credit super-cycle under the rug mayseem to be bearing fruit at present. But these efforts are not addressing the root cause of the entire challenge: the enormousdebt overhang at all levels. In fact, all of the attempts at stimulus, bail-outs and money printing are adding to the developedeconomies’ overall debt burden and are tantamount to treating a drug addict with more drugs. Instead of going through a short,painful withdrawal process and starting afresh, all efforts have so far been a kicking of the can down the road, a process thatminimizes the short term costs, but only maximizes the eventual extent of the final costs.So bulls may continue to find reasons for celebration in the New Year, but the bears will eventually be on the prowl further downthe road as the great public bond bubble moves one year closer to its eventual confrontation with fiscal reality. – 2 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –CONTENTSPREMISES FOR 2011: BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 5GROWTH PERSPECTIVES IN 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 8EUROZONE: A YEAR TO REMEMBER OR A YEAR TO FORGET? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 11UK: THE SURPRISE STORY OF 2011? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 12JAPAN: ANOTHER DIP IN THE ROAD? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 13POLICY RATES IN 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 15FX OUTLOOK 2011: GREENBACK TO REIGN SUPREME? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 18FX OPTIONS: NAVIGATING IN A SEA OF RISK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 23EQUITIES: BULLS TO CONTINUE TO GET THEIR WAY? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 25COMMODITIES: A STRONG BEGINNING, BUT DANGER LIES AHEAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 30WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE? A 10 STEP PLAN TO FINANCIAL STABILITY AND GROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 32SPECIAL REPORT: SOLAR ENERGY TO SHINE IN 2011? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. 33 – 4 – View slide
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –PREMISES FOR 2011: BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY!Sovereign debt crises, bailouts, stock market melt- companies struggle to maintain margins in an environ-down, head-spinning stock market rally, low interest ment where end demand and revenue growth are stillrates, hyperinflation worries and galloping commodity sluggish while input costs have spiked higher.prices: 2010 had it all. But if you are afraid that 2011will be dull in comparison, then fear not. Not many QE2 MARKET REACTION: A CAUSE FORof the causes of the global financial crisis have been CELEBRATION?resolved over the last two years as authorities have Is US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke floodingunfortunately worked overtime to mask the symptoms the system with money? Arguments abound on theinstead. The expression “kicking the can down the answer to that question. A look at the commoditiesroad” has become public property as banking institu- rally of late 2010 suggests the answer is in the affirma-tions and even sovereigns have been offered a lifeline tive while a glance at core inflation reveals clear-cutfunded by central bank printing presses, savers and disinflation, albeit not outright deflation. Technically,tax-payer IOU’s in the form of new sovereign debt. The the Federal Reserve does not print money itself (afundamental idea that not only profits, but also losses department of the U.S. Treasury does), but there is noare an important part of a market economy has been question that the already enormous balance sheet ofignored – instead we have a mantra of loss preven- the Federal Reserve (already approaching 20% of UStion in the name of “stability”. Owners of senior debt GDP) will balloon further as the second round of quan-may have been saved for now, but there are no free titative easing takes place into mid-2011. The impor-lunches, and the longer we try to pretend there are, tant question, however, is not just the size of the Fed’sthe worse the cold shock of reality once we reach the balance sheet, but what happens to the funds the Fedend of the road. effectively creates from thin air. So far they have not – to any material degree – entered the economy, butSound too depressing? There are indeed unresolved rather sit as excess reserves on the balance sheets ofissues in the world economy, particularly those relat- financial institutions, as deleveraging consumers haveing to all forms of debt, but the common character- no need for new loans. And as long as that is the case,istic of these is that they are longer-term issues that which we expect it will be in 2011 as well, there willwill take years to address. We believe that within this be neither significant inflationary pressure nor a moneysecular debt deleveraging process that the West is printing-induced asset bubble.undergoing, a cyclical recovery is currently present,which will manifest itself in 2011, at least in some The charging markets we witnessed as 2010 drew to acorners of the globe. close were in our opinion largely driven by speculation that the Fed’s QE2 will work, not because it is work-The recent improvements in the U.S. economy, which ing. After a brief buy-the-rumour, sell the fact reactioncome on the back of a summer where double dip was to the Fed’s actual Nov. 3 QE2 announcement, thethe major buzzword and cause for concern, have seen rally proceeded again apace in December and the USrisk rally into the New Year with the S&P 500 more S&P500 was trading to new highs since the Lehmanthan 20 percent from its summer lows. And despite bankruptcy. Our stance on risk is hence only mildly pos-household deleveraging and overcapacity, companies itive as the QE-boost only has so far to run and on thehave managed to squeeze so much productivity out possibility that corporate have little more to squeezeof their reduced staffs that profit margins are near out of corporate margins. Potential downside risksrecord highs. include a disruption in the sovereign debt markets – especially in Europe, and a commodities rally that getsParticularly the first half of the year is bound to present out of hand and squeezes final demand and corporatefurther upside surprises to company earnings, but the margins.flipside is that earnings surprises will likely be fewerand farther between by the second half of 2011 as – 5 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –It is our belief that quantitative easing will not do much CHINA, THE JOKERfor the real economy. It certainly has not eased interest The Middle Kingdom of the East is a joker in bothrates, as government bonds have sold off all along the directions in 2011. Rising inflation and quotas on loanscurve since the Nov. 3 QE2 announcement. The U.S. in China have economists rethinking their earlier bull-10-year yield has risen no less than 100bps since the ish calls for +10 percent growth this year and insteadtrough in early October. Given that QE2 has been an “only” looking for 9 percent. We have been concernedutter failure if Main Street or interest rates were the about the Chinese economy and particularly the realtarget, we question whether it was instead an attempt estate market for a long time and so far nothing hasto boost demand through the wealth effect via higher alleviated those concerns. The bust will come eventu-equity prices? If so, then we must admit that the ally. In the meantime, however, the Chinese regimeFederal Reserve has succeeded – so far! Equities are no may try once again to manipulate the economy intodoubt higher, but we question whether this will give reaching some artificial GDP target, whether with ad-people the confidence to increase spending and lend- ditional white elephant infrastructure projects or othering and justify rosy expectations of earnings growth. efforts aimed at increased consumption. It is thus notRather we think stocks will hit a crossroad at some inconceivable that China may beat the consensus inpoint in 2011. Either the global – specifically the U.S. – another act to assert its position in the world.economy has improved to an extent that supports thehigher valuations, which call for 17 percent annualised Despite the possibility of a surprise to the upside, wegrowth in earnings per share over the next couple of remain sceptical of the ability of the Chinese authori-years or the Fed-induced surge in risk sentiment will ties to achieve real 10 percent growth in 2011. Lendingcome to a grinding halt. quotas have been surpassed in 2010 as demand for loans remain high, but this is more or less anotherTHE EU INVITES THE FOXES INTO THE HENHOUSE way of saying that growth is only kept high due to aAt the height of the Greece sovereign crisis the EU continual surge in investments. Consumers are still notacted swiftly to set up an emergency fund in case ready to carry the economy on their backs, which forc-another country would need help – though policymak- es the regions to look elsewhere for growth; and theers insisted it would never be used. The fund consists choice almost always ends up being investment-drivenof a EUR 440 billion European Financial Stability Fund growth. With global trade not expected to grow by(EFSF), 60 billion from the European Financial Stability leaps and bounds in 2011, China will be hard pressedMechanism (EFSM), and 250 billion from the Interna- to find growth elsewhere. As it becomes harder andtional Monetary Fund (IMF). Ireland, as is well-known harder to extract GDP from each yuan allocated toby now, became the first and so far only country to domestic investment, we expect economic activity toapply for help. fall below market expectations reaching 8 percent year- on-year at the end of 2011.The fund, however, may have been dreamt up a weebit too quickly. Not only is the fund currently not even WHAT TO MAKE OF IT ALL?remotely big enough to handle a bailout from a bigger We must credit the members of the Eurozone for theircountry like Spain, but it also relies on all EU members acceptance of the reality that deficits need to cometo provide their piece of the guarantees that acts as down - even if this realisation is mostly due to pressurecollateral; something that of course rules out Greece from bond vigilantes rather than prudent foresightand Ireland, and other coming bailout applicants. on the governments’ part. And while a more austereThis also creates moral hazard as struggling countries Europe is more or less priced into the markets, thescrambled to apply for a bailout and thus avoid their looming troubles surrounding the peripheral membersshare of the burden. Eventually, this could put pressure of the Eurozone, as well as the EFSF itself are reasonson the triple-A rated EFSF itself, causing higher interest for a cautious approach toward risk assets.rates for the countries receiving a bailout. – 6 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –On the other hand, we cannot deny that the U.S. natives to the U.S., and the overambitious expectationsseems to be in recovery mode, even if that recovery has for China and thus emerging market, particularly ifin large part been enabled by a government that has commodities continue sharply higher into the Newyet to show any credibility in addressing its enormous Year could mean a significant pullback in short USD/budget shortfalls. We do not welcome the approach long EM carry trades.of solving debt problems with more debt, but we alsorecognise its positive contribution to GDP in the short Interest rates have risen strongly in the U.S. and Europerun. Add to that the lean, mean, profit-generating from pre-QE2 lows in October. The resumption ofmachines also known as U.S. companies and you have quantitative easing must assume its share of the blame,a case of steadily improving earnings in 2011, barring but a rebound in risk appetite as U.S. macro reportsa commodities price shock. We say steadily improv- continued to rule out a double dip also chipped rather than surging earnings as we project sales Despite the rosier U.S. macro picture, we remain bullishgrowth will remain subdued due to sluggish growth on the bonds of the sovereign debt of major developedin final demand in the economy. Risks to our call on economies in 2011. Rising fiscal austerity and contin-economic growth and prospects for risk assets in 2011 ued household deleveraging does not warrant a con-are mainly to the downside, but stocks may yet eke out tinuation of the recent surge in yields, even if growthgains on solid company fundamentals. continues to stumble higher in 2011. U.S. Treasuries in particular could be a popular investment in 2011 if theThe U.S. dollar is undervalued in our eyes as the sovereign debt situation in Europe gets ugly.“Everything up versus the U.S. dollar-trade” dominatedproceedings in 2010 and simply on a partial unwindof that trade, the U.S. dollar could see a recovery nextyear. Neither Europe nor Japan look like attractive alter- – 7 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –GROWTH PERSPECTIVES IN 2011USA: new normal or the good old days? SECULAR HOUSEHOLD DELEVERAGING CONTINUES The U.S. is suffering a balance sheet recession, anLooking back at the Great Recession and the stock mar- entirely different animal from your garden-variety postket crash of more than 50 percent, the markets and the World War II inventory-led recession. Every recessionU.S. economy have come a long way since the horrors between 1945 and 2008 was arguably related to theof 2008-09. The problem is that the U.S. recovery has inventory cycle, which is to say that companies invest-failed to close the output gap with its feeble recovery ed in the capacity to produce more and more goods –of below-trend growth. Unemployment is still hovering often durable goods – in anticipation of future demandclose to 10 percent 18 months after the official end of and then a recession sets in when demand falls shortthe recession, weekly initial claims for jobless benefits and companies cut back sharply on investment.are still above the 400,000 mark, and a record 45+ mil-lion Americans receive food stamps. History tells us that The private sector has been deleveraging (paying offthe unemployment rate is a lagging indicator, but we debt and/or defaulting on it) for all of 2010 and, whilehave other worries: mortgage delinquency rates are still this has brought us closer to sustainable levels, thereabove 9 percent, private balance sheet deleveraging is is much farther to go relative to historic norms (seeongoing with consumer credit contracting at an annual chart). Consumer credit is in the dumps, especiallyrate of 2.9 percent, and disinflation still rages outside of when we subtract out the sudden inclusion of studentthe commodity spectrum. loans in the data. Loans extended for commercial and Chart 1: US household finances Household dept / Disposable income (left) Savings rate (right) 140% 14% 120% 12% 100% 10% 80% 8% 60% 6% 40% 4% 20% 2% 0% 0% 1960 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010Source: Bloomberg. Our calculations.Standing on the brink of New Year what can we expect industrial purposes are still contracting at a run ratefrom the world’s largest economy in the twelve months of 8 percent per year and we only look for loans toto come? Will manufacturing continue to contribute flatten and possibly increase slightly in 2011. While theto economic activity through an inventory cycle, which U.S. economy will grow in 2011, let us not get carriedhas run longer than we initially expected? Will the away. The unemployment rate will remain very high,consumer step up to the plate? even if it edges lower towards year-end. This will mean many consumers will continue to look to deleverage their balance sheets, even as others increase their spending. Overall, the rate of deleveraging must – 8 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –decrease next year to see the reasonable growth we lower savings rate amounts to, is about as far ahead asproject. most policy makers seem to think.The big question for 2011 is whether these are indeed SHORT-TERM BOOST FROM MONEY-new times for the American consumer or whether old SQUANDERING GOVERNMENT POLICIEShabits quickly return. Is this a ‘new normal’ or was Waning stimulus programs, among them the American2008-2010 simply an intermezzo before the U.S. returns Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), led us in ourto the “good ol’ days” of 2-3 percent savings rates and Yearly Outlook 2010 to predict that the second halfIpads for everyone! The savings rate currently hovers of this year would see fiscal stimulus reverse into aaround 5.7 percent, much higher than the 2 percent drag. However, no such thing took place. And givenobserved in 2006-07, but down somewhat from a the expected passage of the Christmas package that ispost-recession high of 6 percent. While we encourage President Obama’s extension of former President Bush’sAmericans to continue this newfound frugality and pre- tax cuts, jobless benefits and a payroll tax break, wefer consumers to cultivate it even more, wishful thinking expect the public sector to be less of a drag in 2011and the eventual reality rarely share the same destiny. than projected earlier. We look for the initiatives to boost GDP growth by 0.5 percent point in 2011.Given the improved outlook for 2011, aided by theObama package, we expect the savings rate will not PRIVATE INVESTMENT SUBDUED AS INVENTORYmove higher from the current level. Rather, we even CYCLE FADESsee a possibility of a slightly lower rate, which will be As panic erupted in the fall of 2008, firms slashedmuch cheered by policy markers. The reason is that inventories and investment at a ferocious pace, whicha decline in the savings rate feeds into consumer dragged growth even deeper into negative territory.spending and with private consumption accounting Since then an inventory rebuilding cycle set in as itfor roughly 70 percent of GDP, any reduction in the turned out that companies over-reacted to the crisis.savings rate will provide an immediate boost to GDP. We are now back to pre-crisis inventory levels and fur-While we prefer higher savings and investment for ther expansion in the manufacturing sector thereforesustainable growth the lure of a short-term fix, which a rest on consumer spending. We therefore expect the Chart 2: US Gross Dometic Product Contribution from changes to inventories Other contributions Gross Domestic Product (QoQ annualised) 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% -2% -4% -6% -8% 03/2007 06/2007 09/2007 12/2007 03/2008 06/2008 09/2008 12/2008 03/2009 06/2009 09/2009 12/2009 03/2010 06/2010 09/2010Source: Bloomberg. Our calculations. – 9 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –inventory cycle to have run its course come the second unpleasant for baby boomers who are upside down onhalf of the year. their home equity and are on the brink of retirement.Turning to residential investment, we expect the DISINFLATION IS STILL THE NAME OF THE GAMEhousing slump to continue throughout 2011. Indeed, We expect disinflation to stay with us throughouthouse prices may well fall for most months of the year, 2011, especially as it pertains to the core index of con-enough so that it will likely serve as a drag on the sumer prices. We view the recent surge in assets as aeconomy in general. Our base case for housing is a combination of lower demand for readily available cashweak market of slowly falling prices, with the assump- and a misguided inference that quantitative easingtion that delinquency rates remain fairly stable since will eventually cause money to flow into the economymuch of the mortgage rate reset shock is behind us, and push up prices for everything. There is still a hugethough there is still a good deal in the pipeline. Great output gap of excess capacity and unutilized potentialefforts have been made by the Fed and the admin- labor (the unemployed) that must be closed before weistration to revive the housing market, including low see more any worrisome inflation rates and homebuyer tax credits, which haveall failed to stop the cycle of price correcction. In the We like the U.S. economy compared to other majorprocess the problem of low mortgage rates seems to western economies such as the UK, the Euro-Zone, andhave been either misunderstood – or worse – ignored. Japan, and look for growth to accelerate in 2011 andAs the herd refinanced in the last decade, little at- end the year with GDP growth of 2.7 percent with fur-tention was given to the fact that not only do you ther upside potential, but a weak labour market, con-get lower interest expenses when you refinance, you tinued disinflation, and household deleveraging remainalso re-extend the duration, which will be particularly threats for sustaining the strength of the recovery. Forecasts FY-2010 Q1-2011 Q2-2011 Q3-2011 Q4-2011 FY-2011 USA Gross Domestic Product YoY (%) 2.8 2.5 2.7 2.8 3 2.7 Unemployment Rate % 9.7 10 10 9.8 9.5 9.8 Consumer Price Index YoY (%) 1.4 1.2 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.4 Source: Saxo Bank Strategy & Research – 10 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –EUROZONE: A YEAR TO REMEMBER OR A YEAR TO FORGET?A quick glance at key economic indicators may give the yields, and we do expect Portugal and Spain to comeimpression that the Eurozone has recovered reasonably under similar fire from the credit market over the fund-well from its deep recession. GDP growth for 2010 was ing of its sovereign debt. Italy is the dangerous wildan estimated 1.7 percent in 2010, but the aggregate card. Spain may be different to the other PIIGS in termsEurozone growth figure hides a huge gap in economic of the magnitude of its outstanding debt, but it stillperformance among the individual member states. faces other problems, like as a devastated post-bubbleExport-dependent Germany boomed last year while housing market and looming troubles at the regionalthe peripheral countries are mired in a sovereign debt banks (cajas), not to mention enormous amounts ofcrisis. The best of times and worst of times were seen debt that must be rolled and fiscal deficits that must bein Europe in 2010, depending on your focus. funded by someone. In addition, Spain has significant exposure to Portuguese debt, meaning that if and whenFUEL SUPPLY DWINDLES FOR GERMAN LOCOMOTIVE Portuguese debt is restructured, the potential for conta-Germany saw the economy collapse by 6.6 percent year- gion is a threat to Spain as well.on-year in the first quarter of 2009 as manufacturingcrashed due to dwindling global demand for German The problem for the Eurozone is that it is a monetarygoods. In particular, domestic investment in machinery union without an accompanying fiscal union, so mon-and exports plummeted, bottoming at -23.6 percent etary policy may not be tailored to each specific country’sand -18 percent, respectively in mid-2009. A quick needs. While this often results in a cry for a fiscal unionturnaround soon followed as global demand for Ger- to address trade imbalances, we rather argue that the pe-man products flourished despite a strengthening Euro. ripheral countries have been living beyond their means as they feasted on interest rates that encouraged credit andThe German locomotive will lose steam this year as the housing bubbles and loss of competitiveness. Over thesupply of fuel declines. Internal Eurozone demand will last 10 years, the PIIGS have seen poor productivity gains,be meagre as most members engage in some degree excessive consumption, and increasingly uncompetitiveof austerity. Not much benefit will be derived from the wages. This must be corrected internally and is not Ger-Euro either; the performance of which we expect will many’s fault. Germany does not force its goods on otherbe distinctly average, (and German exports are less Euro nations, they choose to buy them, and now they mustsensitive anyway). More than 70 percent of German trade realise that this is something they can no longer afford.with foreign countries involves European trading partnersand while German exporters are increasingly turning their 2011 is shaping up to be an eventful year for the Eu-eyes in the direction of Asia, the continued weak growth rozone. Either the Euro bloc muddles through withoutexpected in most Eurozone countries, the peripherals in another sovereign casualty or Germany will have toparticular, will not be kind to the German export machine. accept a solution that involves either E-bonds or ECB monetisation. We look for weak growth in the EurozoneTHE NEXT PIG TO ROAST… of 1.4 percent next year, but fear that risks are mainlyThe PIIGS acronym gained much notoriety in 2010 as to the downside. Inflation should retrace a bit whileGreece and then Ireland struggled with skyrocketing unemployment remains disturbingly high. Forecasts FY-2010 Q1-2011 Q2-2011 Q3-2011 Q4-2011 FY-2011 Eurozone Gross Domestic Product YoY (%) 1.7 1.8 1.5 1.1 1.3 1.4 Unemployment Rate % 10 10 10 9.8 9.8 9.9 Consumer Price Index YoY (%) 1.6 1.5 1 1 1.5 1.2 Source: Saxo Bank Strategy & Research – 11 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –UK: THE SURPRISE STORY OF 2011?The UK economy is in bullish mood as we stand on the will be raised to 20 percent in January 2011 frombrink of 2011. The latest batch of data have outper- 17.5 percent, suggests that demand has been pulledformed market expectations and suggests an economy forward in the short term as consumers made one finalin good shape ready to tackle the looming drag that stand before the austerity measures begin in earnest.will arrive with impressive austerity measures decreed Hence, we look for a weak first half of the year inby the new government. Is this a correct description or terms of consumer spending, but expect the greatsimply a case of demand pulled forward as the entire force of mean reversion to be a cause for improvementnation is aware of the hammer that will fall at the in the second half of the year.beginning of the New Year? While there can be nodoubt that the coming budget cuts will impact short- GROWING INVESTMENT AMID WEAK HOUSINGterm economic activity, we believe that the economy MARKETmay bounce back towards the end of the year and into Like many other developed economies, the UK is strug-2012. gling with a housing sector that is in a post bubble environment. The correction that began in 2007-08DOMESTIC DEMAND TAKES A HIT was temporarily reversed by the tremendous loweringThe austerity measures call for a GBP 81 billion reduc- of interest rates, but now prices seem to be falling intion over a four-year period, of which 9 percent or 7 earnest again, and could continue to do so in 2011 asbillion will be in welfare support. In addition, public- prices revert slowly back to their long term mean.sector jobs will be reduced by almost half a million infive years and the retirement age will also be raised. All Overall, this leads us to conclude that sentiment onof these will contribute to weaker contributions from the UK economy is likely too negative at the momentthe public sector to GDP in years to come. Our expec- and that a revival will be underway as we exit 2011.tation is, however, that the cuts are so narrow in scope We thus look for GDP growth to average 2 percent inthat consumer sentiment will not be hurt excessively 2011, but with a early-to-mid slump before reacceler-meaning that consumption is unlikely to take a big hit ating into 2012. Unemployment, hurt by the layoffs inin 2011. the public sector, and CPI will both remain high though the latter will come down to 2.3 percent for 2011 fromWith that said the recent improvement in retail sales an expected 3.2 percent in 2010.ahead of new increases in taxes such as the VAT, which Forecasts FY-2010 Q1-2011 Q2-2011 Q3-2011 Q4-2011 FY-2011 UK Gross Domestic Product YoY (%) 1.7 2.5 1.8 1.6 2.2 2 Unemployment Rate % 7.8 8 8 7.8 7.5 7.8 Consumer Price Index YoY (%) 3.2 2.8 2.6 2.1 1.9 2.3 Source: Saxo Bank Strategy & Research – 12 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –J A PA N : A N O T H E R D I P I N T H E R O A D ?It would be an understatement to say that Japan could spread, which means that private consumption willpossibly see a double dip in 2011. The country is a have a difficult time getting traction.perennial recession risk and looks set to start the yearon a weak note and should a dip materialise, it will be IT’S THE TRADE SURPLUS, STUPID!the nineteenth dip since 1989 if we look at quarter-on- A slight rephrasing of the well-known slogan fromquarter growth rates and the seventh using year-on- former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s successful cam-year growth rates. Regardless, Japan just cannot seem paign of ’92 makes it apt for the Japanese economy,to escape its flirt with stagnation as the 1.1 percent an- which has spent the better part of three decades in anual growth rate since 1989 can attest to. So what is trade surplus. Unlike its neighbour, China, Japan hasin store for the underachieving Land of the Rising Sun? not been accused – officially at least – of engaging in active currency devaluation and out of generosity weDOMESTIC DEMAND TO EASE BACK AT FIRST, will refrain from pointing out the Bank of Japan’s futileTHEN EXPAND MODERATELY endeavours in this area in mid-September. That shouldA quick glance at domestic demand in 2010 shows not distract us from the fact that Japan’s economy ebbsvigorous growth, but this picture of the domestic and flows with global trade, but perhaps the pictureeconomy was heavily influenced by a bevy of govern- is a tad more nuanced than often discussed. The netment programmes. These have distorted consumption exports-to-GDP ratio currently stands at 1.2 percent,growth by pulling demand forward into 2010, but are which is a far cry from the heyday of the eighties whennow expiring. Furthermore, the employment picture it was routinely above 2 percent with a peak of 4 per-remains bleak, which will inhibit growth on the con- cent in 1986. Indeed, in the last decade the ratiosumer level in 2011. has averaged 1.2 percent as Japan has struggled to escape another “lost decade”. The flipside of the coinEmployment has been a rollercoaster ride in the last is of course that domestic demand has averaged justten years with unemployment peaking at 5.5 percent below 99 percent of gross domestic production in thein 2002-2003 before it dove to 3.6 percent in mid- 2000’s.2007. A reacceleration then took the rate to its highestrate on record of 5.6 percent in July 2009 and we Is the Japanese export machine damaged for good orcurrently stand at 5.1 percent despite solid economic will Japan bounce back in style? The first half of thegrowth of no less than 5 percent in the most recent year looks tough for the economy in general and thefour quarters. With growth set to decelerate in 2011 exporters in particular. First, the yen has had a strongwith the possibility of negative growth in one or more year on a trade weighted basis, which was basicallyquarters, employment will not receive much support due to a weak U.S. dollar. This has had a dampen-from this front. At the same time, however, growth is ing effect on net exports, which have been runningset to slow down because unemployment is so wide- consistently around JPY 600 billion in the second half of 2010. Our view on the U.S. dollar, however, may be Forecasts FY-2010 Q1-2011 Q2-2011 Q3-2011 Q4-2011 FY-2011 Japan Gross Domestic Product YoY (%) 4.3 1.6 1.2 0.7 1.6 1.3 Unemployment Rate % 5.1 5 4.8 4.5 4.5 4.7 Consumer Price Index YoY (%) -0.5 0 -0.5 -1 -1 -0.6 Source: Saxo Bank Strategy & Research – 13 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –the lifejacket Japan has been searching for. With USD- of the year as stimulus wanes before picking up someJPY set to surge in our base scenario combined with momentum as global trade shifts into a higher gear.a fairly flat EURJPY, net exports appear to be set for a Prices will stagnate at first before deflation returns ascomeback as we progress through the year. the temporary drivers of upward price pressure vanish.Overall, our expectations for the Japanese economyare – unsurprisingly – nothing to be excited about. Eco-nomic activity is expected to decelerate in the first half – 14 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –P O L I C Y R AT E S I N 2 0 1 1U.S.: The final weeks of 2010 were characterized by with residential activity described as remaining, ‘at awhat might be described as an outbreak of ‘irrational low level’, and the commercial market ‘mixed’.exuberance’, to borrow Alan Greenspan’s famousphrase. Recent reports for Housing Starts, Building Permits, Existing and New Home Sales and Price Indices have allChoosing to ignore continuing downbeat housing been below expectations, and still mired at historicallymarket reports and the extremely disappointing U.S. dreadful absolute levels.Labour report, released on December 3rd, which fea-tured a paltry 50,000 increase in private payrolls and This is why the most recent meeting of the Fed’s inter-a surprise move higher in the unemployment rate to est rate-setting committee, the FOMC, contained only9.8 percent, the market decided to focus instead upon the remotest scintilla of improvement in its descriptionmarginal improvements in consumer confidence, the of economic conditions. Indeed, one almost needs toInstitute of Supply Managers report on Manufacturing, be a code-breaker to even discern any significant im-and a modestly robust Retail Sales report-a notoriously provement in outlook in the post-meeting statement.volatile series of data. The words used to describe the recovery in output andIt may also be that investors were unduly influenced employment became “economic recovery is continu-by the apparent agreement between Democrats and ing, though at a rate that has been insufficient to bringRepublicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, across the down unemployment” whereas, after the previousboard, accompanied by cuts in payroll taxes. In fact, meeting the characterization was simply “slow”. Con-the boost to GDP growth is expected to be relatively sumer spending was said to be ‘increasing at a moder-muted-of the order of 0.5-1.0 percent- leaving GDP ate pace’, instead of ‘increasing gradually’. Which isstill only growing at 2.5-3 percent in 2011. There is better?a famous law of economics, known as Okun’s Law,which states that for every 1 percent by which actual There were similarly Delphic references to the de-real growth exceeds trend growth, (the long-term pressed state of the housing market and the fact that,median growth potential for the economy), the un- “measures of underlying inflation “continued to trendemployment rate will fall by 0.5 percent so, according downward”- if anything more downbeat than theto this tried and tested correlation, one might expect previous, “have trended lower in recent quarters”.the incremental impact of the tax cut extensions onthe unemployment rate to be a median reduction of Finally, although the FOMC was silent on this occa-the order of 0.375 percent -hardly ‘game-changing’, sion with regard to its Quantitative Easing programme,against a headline unemployment rate of 9.8 per- Chairman Bernanke recently confirmed in a 60 Minutescent, (with the wider ‘U6’ measure of unemployment, interview that additional bond purchases were “cer-including discouraged part-time workers, standing at tainly possible”. This was hardly a ringing endorsement17 percent). of growth prospects.The Federal Reserve seems to be taking a more cau- The decision as to whether to extend Quantitativetious approach to developments. The most recently re- Easing has become quite politicized, in light of recentleased ‘Beige Book’, which collates reports from its 12 Senatorial moves threatening to change the Fed’s dualdistricts, was still distinctly measured in tone. Although mandate to a single, inflation-focussed objective. Theone could describe it as cautiously optimistic in aggre- question is whether such threats can be realized or ifgate, it continued to portray consumers, (70 percent of they will prove empty in the face of continuing, histori-the economy, let us not forget), as price sensitive and cally high unemployment.determined to limit discretionary expenditure, but thereally chilling part remains the housing market story, – 15 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –Against this back-drop we expect the Federal Reserve sify, as a sort of Paradox of Thrift starts to appear at ato maintain its current target for the Fed Funds rate of national level in the weaker economies-although fiscal0 to 0.25 percent throughout 2011, and see a 50 per- austerity is both desirable and unavoidable in Portugal,cent chance of further purchases of U.S. Treasuries by Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, it will be difficult, if notthe Fed, as unemployment and inflation rates remain impossible, to avoid the unintended consequence thatstubbornly mandate-inconsistent. this austerity leads to a decline in economic activity, and hence in tax revenues, in turn exacerbating theEurozone: When observing the somewhat contorted very deficit problems it is meant to address.deliberations of the ECB, (as in all things ‘Euro’ often adesperate exercise in consensus management), one is In light of all of the above, there seems little prospectvividly reminded of an alcoholic, addicted to monetary that Eurozone interest rates will be rising any timeconservatism, suffering from Delirium Tremens halluci- soon, and we predict that the official Refinancing Ratenations in the form of an imaginary inflation demon. will remain at 1 percent throughout 2011.If things had gone according to script, the ECB’s Japan: The predominantly export-driven nature of theheadline overnight interest rate would long ago have Japanese economy should mean that it continues tobeen raised from the current crisis level of 1 percent to be supported by the recovery in global growth that wemore ‘normal’ levels and all those tiresome extraordi- expect to see in 2011, although exporters will also con-nary liquidity provision schemes, (or LTRO’s as they are tinue to face the challenge of a stubbornly strong yen.known), would long ago have been consigned to thewaste bin-where, no doubt, the prevailing orthodoxy However, we see little scope for any meaningfulwhich tends to dominate ECB thinking would believe increase in momentum coming from domestic con-they belong. sumption, with scant opportunity to deploy further significant fiscal stimulus, due to the dangerous debtInstead of this, all that the inflation warriors have mountain which Japan has already amassed.managed to achieve is a technically induced stealthtightening of the interbank interest rate market, (with Turning to monetary policy, there is no prospect what-3-month money now costing just over 1.0 percent, as soever of any increase in policy rates from their currentopposed to a low of 0.634 percent in March 2010), level of 0.1 percent during 2011, indeed one shouldand 3-month LTRO’s are set to continue for at least expect further non-conventional monetary stimulus, inanother three months, in January, February and March. the form of Bank of Japan purchases, (mostly of JGB’s),Eurozone banks in many countries are still depend- beginning possibly as early as the February meeting,ent on the drip-feed of liquidity from the ECB, since and continuing periodically throughout the year tointerbank lending remains inaccessible for them. To cap counter-balance the lack of additional fiscal all, the ECB continues to have to buy the sovereignbonds of many weaker, peripheral nations, just to put U.K.: December’s release of CPI for November at 3.3a floor under prices, in some cases. percent, year-on-year, was still stubbornly above the Bank of England’s 2 percent target, and slightly aboveMeanwhile, although growth in Germany is looking expectations. This continues to present the Monetaryrelatively robust, the economies of Southern Europe Policy Committee with an uncomfortable dilemma;and Ireland seemed doomed to endure anaemic their expectation is for CPI to peak at 3.6 percent in Q1growth at best, and in some cases contraction or reces- 2011 and, thenceforth, to begin a gradual decline sosion, due to the extraordinarily acute deficit reduction that, within 18 months, it will be below target.measure which have been forced upon them by thesovereign debt crisis, which shows signs of rumbling However, in January the VAT rate will increase fromon throughout 2011. Indeed, the crisis may yet inten- 17.5 percent to 20 percent, leading to an increase in – 16 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –CPI-maybe by as much as 0.5 percent, depending on For all of the above reasons, this is a very close call,the ability of businesses to pass on the hike. This is but we think the MPC will leave rates on hold at 0.5obviously a one-off effect and the MPC continue to percent throughout 2011, and, very probably have to‘look through’ this, and the current blip in CPI, (as they increase Quantitative Easing, as fiscal tightening bites.see it).The trouble is that this is a long game and they havebeen ‘looking through’ above target numbers for morethan a year now and the risk is a loss of credibility forthe MPC, leading to an increase in medium-term infla-tionary expectations. The offsetting factor is obviouslythe impending tightening of fiscal policy which is ofunprecedented proportions in living memory. – 17 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –FX OUTLOOK 2011: GREENBACK TO REIGN SUPREME?Last year, our 2010 outlook asked whether the never Korea and Brazil have already moved to stem strengthending theme of hyper correlation of risk appetite with in their currencies with capital controls and punitivethe USD- and JPY-funded carry trades would end. The taxes on foreign owned assets within their countries.answer was “maybe” for the JPY and “definitely not”for the USD, which traded almost the entire year as the In 2011, the ECB, Fed, BoJ and BoE will all remain in easyflipside of risk appetite. We suspect that 2011, how- money mode, while major emerging market economiesever, could finally see some decoupling of this pattern. – China, in particular – are in the fight of their lives toPerhaps surprisingly, we wonder if the USD is set for a put down potential asset and credit bubbles and over-win-win situation in 2011, even if we dislike the cur- whelming capital flows from the virtually non-yieldingrency’s longer term potential. Elsewhere, the G-10 FX developed. This mismatch of policy needs could provelandscape is littered with extreme valuations as we leave an explosive cocktail and promises plenty of volatility; in2010. Aussie is in the ionosphere and the Euro, GBP particular if the various participants dig in with furtherand the USD are in the dumps. We expect some mean punitive measures aimed at curbing currency move-reversion in currency valuations in 2011, though the ments. The irony of all attempts to control a currency ispath to that mean reversion remains cloudy. One thing that they often prolong imbalances and make the even-seems certain: volatility promises to go nowhere but up, tual fall-out from misguided policy that much worse.especially considering the tense dynamics of the globalmacroeconomic picture as we head into the New Year. A couple of potential scenarios in 2011: commodities continue to march higher until growth is reduced byTHE CUSP OF 2011: SETTING THE SCENE collapsing corporate margins and a higher percentageAs we head into the New Year, the macro-economic of global workers’ pay dedicated to the bare essentialsdynamics are very different from those we saw as we rather than discretionary spending. Another scenario:headed into 2010. Recovery or not, the major de- China slams on the brakes and the country lurches intoveloped countries are in a woefully vulnerable state a hard landing that sees a profound reassessment offor one reason or another, and, outside of (Fed- and global growth potential, particularly since China andstimulus-enabled) reasonable growth expectations in its satellites have been such a significant global growththe U.S., growth projections aren’t particularly inspiring driver since the dark days of early 2009. Neitherfor the world’s largest developed economies. What scenario is particularly emerging market positive norgrowth there is and will be in the New Year has been positive for risk appetite.enabled by over-active central banks that have droppedall talk of exit strategies (all the rage last December, we Whether one of these two scenarios proves the correctmust recall) and are engaged in the fight of their lives one, we have a hard time imagining an extension of theto get their economies’ growth rates back to trend. current environment of a simultaneous rise of interest rates, commodities prices and equity prices for any ap-Meanwhile, too much of the easy money from the preciable length of time in the New Year. Something’smajor developed countries seems to be winding up got to give eventually: while all three can eventually fallas capital flows to emerging markets, where asset if growth projections prove overoptimistic, not all threemarkets and domestic economies are on fire once can continue the upward spiral we’ve seen since earlyagain and the threat is more one of overheating than November. Eventually, risk would have to consolidate ifanything else. Also, the developed world’s central interest rates or commodity prices continue to rise frombanks have been so ready to reach after the printing their late 2010 levels. The only way we get the Gold-press as the solution to all problems, that the theme of ilocks scenario is if growth continues while interest ratesthe demise of fiat currencies has gripped the market’s and commodities remain range-bound, a scenario thatattention and sent hard asset prices rocketing higher. would continue to favour risk assets. Our FX forecast forCentral bank policies are heightening global trade ten- 2011 assumes a less sanguine outcome for risk – as yousions and already, a number of EM countries like South can see below in our outlook for the G-10 currencies. – 18 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –USD: WIN-WIN IN 2011? Against other currencies, the scenarios outlined in ourAt the tail end of 2010, the USD has bounced signifi- main outlook both favor the USD as the market hascantly after the steep sell-off in anticipation of the QE2 a profoundly large structural short in the USD head-announcement in early November. That rally can be ing into 2011, and complacency on global growth iswritten off as a result of overzealous market position- extremely high. Any disappointment of the anticipateding in USD-funded carry trades and a classic sell-the- strong continuation of the global recovery would seerumour, buy the fact kind of reaction to the Fed’s well an unwinding of USD-funded pro-risk positions. (An al-anticipated QE2 move. But that explanation is a bit too ternative argument is that even if the growth stumbleseasy, and the fact is that despite the Fed’s huge new along quite well in the U.S. and elsewhere, the worldcommitment to purchase $600 billion in U.S. Treasuries may look elsewhere for funding currencies whereby mid-2011, interest rates have surged since the QE2 yields are even lower – CHF, JPY and even EUR comeannouncement, helping the USD to look far less unat- to mind). So it appears that it may be a win-win year Chart 3: Saxo Bank Carry Trade Model Carry Trade Index (left) Sample USD Carry Trade (right) 3 115 2 110 1 0 105 -1 100 -2 95 -3 -4 90 01/2010 02/2010 03/2010 04/2010 05/2010 06/2010 07/2010 08/2010 09/2010 10/2010 11/2010 12/2010 Saxo Bank Carry Trade Index. Our Carry Trade Index looks at a variety of risk appetite indicators to determine whether the trading environment favours carry trades, which generally only thrive when markets are in a positive mood. Over most of 2010, the USD, with its very low yield, rather sombre economic outlook and large twin deficits, was the ideal funding currency in conditions of im- proving risk appetite (any time the Carry Trade Index was rising) and generally rallied when markets moved into risk aversion mode (Carry Trade Index falling). Note, however, that not long after the Fed announced its QE2 measures in early November, the USD’s performance began to improve – this is a dramatic divergence from one of the most stable and tight intermarket correlations of the last couple of years, and begs the question: is this a sign that the USD bear market is ending and that the USD could be a leading indicator for worsening risk appetite (the Fed’s easing was instrumental in much of the speculation in global asset markets in the second half of 2010) or is this just a brief USD rally as US rates have risen considerably as the market assumes that the Fed is done for now and a handful of other, even lower yielding currencies like the JPY, CHF or even the Euro eventually could become preferable for carry trades in the future? Either scenario looks relatively positive for the US dollar.Source: Bloomberg. Our calculations.tractive in terms of yield comparisons with the rest of for the USD, despite the awful long term implicationsthe world. The return of the Euro sovereign debt crisis of fiscally imprudent moves like the budget-shreddingand a BoJ lurching into massive new QE moves have Obama/Republican tax deal. It is an important caveatalso helped the USD to look less bad in what amounts to our outlook that the U.S. begins to show signs ofto an ugly contest among the G3 currencies. moving toward fiscal austerity in 2011, perhaps driven by a Tea Party-invigorated Congress. – 19 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –Another important factor to consider in the coming JPY: DR. JEKYLL OR MR. HYDE?year is the possibility that the Fed’s star has peaked The outlook for Japan in 2011 clearly hinges on theand that it could come under increasing pressure from interest rate outlook, as it nearly always does. As longthe obstreperous new Congress that will take office in as interest rates head higher in an environment of posi-January. It is clear that Bernanke wouldn’t hesitate to tive risk appetite, the JPY will remain relatively weak aslaunch further rounds of QE to address the mounting domestic investors look to foreign shores for superiordebt crisis at the municipal and state level if he felt the yield and the JPY could even become a favoured fund-need was there. But will the Congress move to block ing currency for carry. This is the Dr. Jekyll side of thefurther Fed activism? Certainly, resistance to the Fed is JPY’s potential in 2011.growing on both the political and even popular fronts. A more dramatic Mr. Hyde scenario for the JPY is this:EUR: WHERE’S THE BOTTOM? if interest rates go into a tailspin once again as riskIt is clear that the Eurozone is headed for a very critical appetite contracts at some point during the year andtest for its survival – a test we believe it will eventu- the commodities rally fades, the JPY could see an ag-ally fail in the longer run beyond the horizon of this gravated rally as domestic investors bring their fundsoutlook, but not before EU politicians and ECB make a home and carry trades are unwound. The BoJ wouldsignificant effort to keep the motley crew of nations in inevitably crank up the printing presses in response topolitical and monetary union. Any effort, regardless of such a development, and it could finally succeed in set-the form it takes (enlargement of the rescue fund and/ ting off a JPY devaluation if the Japanese bondholdersor some new powers granted to the ECB that make (almost all JGB’s are held by domestic savers) revolt aspossible new, unsterilized quantitative easing), it has they consider the implications of the eventual QE strawEuro-negative implications. There are also reasonable that will break the Japanese Yen’s back on an impos-odds that one or more of the nations at the Eurozone sibly high public debt burden. The domestic marketperiphery actually defaults, considering how obviously has reached the saturation point on its JGB holdingsin their best interest such a move would be. An ex- and can’t absorb any more and foreign buyers wouldample: why should Irish taxpayers be put on the hook demand a higher yield. Even with rates at almost zeroand make foreign banks 100 percent whole for unwise and at no more than 125 bps for 10-year bonds, moredecisions made in commercial real estate market in than a quarter of the Japanese budget is used onthe bubble days? Any default would clearly throw the interest payments for the public debt. Any further risealready highly leveraged European banking system in already stupefying debt levels could see an amazinginto disarray, with a massive need for public backing lurch from deflation to high inflation in the blink of anof banks and all of the negative implications a bank- eye if the least crisis in confidence triggers any kind ofing crisis would have on the currency and economic “run on the bank”. That run becomes an eventualitygrowth. Such a move would also see an explosion in whether the route to such a run is via higher interestdebt spreads on contagion fears – fears that the ECB rates or via the printing press. So 2011 is a year ofand EU political leadership would have a very hard time two-way risks for the currency, but all scenarios pointputting a lid on. The EU is headed for the fight of its life. to eventual JPY weakness.While the year may be one of win-win for the USD, it GBP: SURPRISING STRENGTH?could be one of lose-lose for the Euro in the short to The pound sterling and the USD saw a similar tra-medium term. The only solace some investors might jectory in 2010, as their fundamentals were largelyfind is that the world is already very pessimistic on the similar: two countries overwhelmed by dysfunctionalEurozone’s prospects and that the currency might be a banks, massive twin deficits, and central banks moresafer harbour than some of the most pro-risk curren- or less in continued QE mode. Where the two curren-cies in 2011. cies dramatically diverge going into the New Year is on the political front. While the U.S. administration – 20 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –and Congress have connived to bloat the short term six times GDP) is also a risk, considering our negativedeficit further in the coming year with what amounts view on risk appetite and the likelihood for a tougherto a new stimulus bill, the freshly minted UK govern- regulatory environment going forward. Once EURCHFment has gone on an “austerity spree” if there is bottoms out in the New Year, the currency could gosuch a thing. The new government’s measures will from strength to pronounced weakness for a time.include a rise in the VAT, public wage freezes and otherspending cuts. While not a harbinger of super strong AUD: ONE TRICK PONY TO STUMBLE?growth rates, these new measures do show a kind of The Australian dollar hit its stride in 2010 again as ifdynamism and political willpower not at all evident in the global financial crisis never happened. After all,the U.S. – a good sign for the longer term potential here is a country with little public debt, a relativelyfor the UK economy to return to proper health and high interest rate, and an economy fully leveragedbalance, especially if a good solution is found to the to piggyback the Chinese growth juggernaut withhobbled UK banking dinosaurs. To boot, the UK can its commodity export complex of coal, metals, andcongratulate itself that it never chose not to join the other materials. But looking at the currency and thecontinent’s currency union, a decision that could bring Australian economy as we head into 2011, we seeplenty of strength versus the single currency in 2011. several warning lights flashing. The economy is almostAs an alternative to mounting problems and unrealis- exclusively reliant on its resource extraction industriestic expectations elsewhere and due to its very cheap for continued strength, meaning any hiccup in Chinesevaluation, the pound could be a surprisingly strong demand as the regime there potentially launches aperformer next year. more determined effort to bring the country’s property bubble and inflation under control could see a dra-CHF: A CONUNDRUM matic fallout for the Australian economy. As well, onSomething structural has happened over the last year the domestic front, a number of worries include weakto the Swiss franc: the currency has entirely decoupled economic activity surveys outside of the mining sector,from the kind of safe haven behaviour it exhibited for and the combination of an overleveraged consumerthe last 10-12 years, in which it more or less moved and a housing bubble that appears on the cusp ofin negative correlation with risk appetite. Instead, unwinding. AUD is overvalued and could end 2011the franc is incredibly strong considering its virtually significantly lower.non-existent yield and the resurgence in risk appetitein the second half of the last year. The newfound CAD: MIDDLE OF THE ROADCHF strength has come on the back of the European The Canadian dollar had its ups and downs over thesovereign debt debacle (Switzerland has very modest course of the 2010, at first strong on the generalpublic debt to GDP ratio relative to most of the other resurgence in risk appetite during the first quarter ofdeveloped economies) and perhaps as well due to a the year and sharply higher expectations for the Bankpositive feedback loop from hedging due to its appre- of Canada’s interest rate, but later weaker as the U.S.ciation as so many loans abroad were financed in Swiss economic outlook deteriorated and as energy pricesfranc during the boom years. In 2011, the franc may – the most important commodity prices for Canada’sappreciate further as the Eurozone crisis wends its way resource mix – underperformed much of the rest ofto a climax of one kind or another, but at some point, the commodities complex. With USDCAD threateningthe franc’s very strength becomes a self-correcting parity for much of the year, the Bank of Canada hasphenomenon, damaging competitiveness and brak- been quick to slam the lid on further interest rate hikeing Swiss economic activity, which may have gotten expectations. And, while economic strength in the artificial boost in 2010 from the monetary stimulus could serve as a boon for Canada’s export industries inprovided by the SNB’s misguided and failed efforts to 2011, there are other worries for the Canadian econ-intervene against the currency’s strength. The coun- omy, including a housing bubble that risks unwindingtry’s enormous financial sector (with assets more than and a consumer that is even more overleveraged than – 21 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –the U.S. consumer ever was during the credit bubble banks to hike all the way back in 2009, but quickly putpreceding the global financial crisis. USDCAD could on the brakes as its domestic economy (housing pricehead much higher in 2011. On the more CAD-positive pressure notwithstanding) saw anaemic growth and asside, however, Canada’s finances and banking sector crude oil prices were relatively flat for most of the year.are in tip-top shape and can weather a considerable Going into 2011, expectations for the Norges Bankstorm and the currency looks ridiculously undervalued are very weak, but the currency looks rather underval-against the other commodity currencies, especially the ued versus the commodity currencies in particular andAustralian dollar. could look especially attractive at any time the focus shifts to countries’ public balance sheets, as Norway isNZD: OVERVALUED a paragon of financial solidity. NOK is a buy against aThe kiwi rose to new highs versus the rest of the G-10 basket of riskier currencies in 2011.currencies during 2010, but by the end of the year sawits strength fading despite a generally positive environ- G10 FX TRADING THEMES FOR 2011ment for risk appetite and virtually all commodities. Long GBPAUD – the market positioning at the endA relatively weak domestic economy was partially to of 2011 suggests that the UK’s prospects are in theblame, particularly as drought conditions seemed to be dumps where the belief for Down Under seems to betaking hold by the end of the year, which threaten the that trees can grow into the sky. This trade is a waycountry’s important agricultural exports. A lacklustre to express the belief that the UK is at the vanguard inoutlook from the RBNZ was no boost to the currency addressing its fiscal challenges and could see a bettereither. In 2011, we see risk appetite becoming a two- than expected trajectory in the new year while theway street again, with significant risk for downside, AUD is at nosebleed levels and too dependent on aand the kiwi, while much weaker than it was at its mining sector that could falter in 2011.highs, could have much farther to fall relative to therest of the G-10. Against, the Aussie, however, the Short EURUSD – The Eurozone sovereign debt situ-currency is beginning to look underpriced, particularly ation will take some time to sort through and policyif weather conditions for New Zealand’s key food com- efforts by the ECB can only mean easing monetarymodity exports improve. conditions and uncertainty at a time when the U.S. Fed may find itself increasingly sidelined by reasonable U.S.SEK: NEITHER HERE NOR THERE fundamentals and a hamstrung Fed. EURUSD couldThe Swedish krona enjoyed a strong resurgence in head toward 1.10-1.15 during the course of the year.2010 as it began the year at undervalued levels and asits export economy enjoyed a huge boom on gener- Long CADJPY – If the focus shifts to credibility onally strong external demand. The Swedish krona is sovereign debt, here is your trade. Japan’s problemsgenerally a pro-cyclical currency, so it enjoyed strength will quickly accelerate and require a devaluation ofwhenever risk appetite was on the rise in 2010, and the yen if interest rates head much higher in the Newalso looked like an attractive alternative to the Euro Year, while Canada is one of the best positioned majordue to the single currency’s special challenges. In 2011, countries in terms of banking sector and sovereignthe krona could enjoy some further strength on the debt credibility.expectation of a continued economic recovery, buttrouble in asset markets could mean that the currency Short NZDNOK – this is a valuation play more thanfinds a ceiling relatively quickly. anything else. The Norwegian krone has been neglect- ed while the kiwi’s rise has been at least partially builtNOK: TOO CHEAP on lazy assumptions and its exposure to Asia. Also, ifNOK receives the 2010 blue ribbon for “Quietest G-10 risk appetite faces challenges in the New Year, NZDcurrency” after a year of very little volatility versus the would likely suffer more than NOK.broader market. Norges Bank was the first of the G-10 – 22 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –F X O P T I O N S : N AV I G AT I N G I N A S E A O F R I S KOverall we see 2011 as a key period for FX, with The UK government, having put forward some tougheconomies across the globe still facing serious risks: measures from the start, now seems to be in a betterunprecedented levels of quantitative easing, sover- position to withstand further shocks. In particular, theeign credibility, and European tensions (politically and pound seems a better tool than EUR to hedge a bullisheconomically). All those, and many more, might well USD view, with continuing concerns in the EUR zoneprove to be non-issues in 12 month time and all might and if one wants to play the angle of the UK gainingbe well in the world. However, whilst hoping for the more credibility than the U.S. on the fiscal austeritybest, we need to be prepared for the worst. An option front. In addition, the risk reversal still favours GBP puts Chart 4: 6 mth implied volatilities EUR JPY ZAR 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 10/2006 01/2007 04/2007 07/2007 10/2007 01/2008 04/2008 07/2008 10/2008 01/2009 04/2009 07/2009 10/2009 01/2010 04/2010 07/2010 10/2010 01/2011Source: Bloomberg. Our calculations.portfolio presents a unique opportunity to do so as it heavily, making upside strikes trade at an implied vola-can provide great leverage in extreme market condi- tility discount. Note long EUR Puts / GBP calls might betions. We would therefore be on the lookout for cheap chosen instead.options to purchase and be keen to maintain an overalllong implied volatility position. Long 1-year emerging market volatilitiesThe attached chart displays six month implied volatili- Any market shock as the potential to unnerve emerg-ties in EURUSD, USDJPY and USDZAR over the last ing markets: as such we believe being long a basket offour years. Volatilities are not back to their pre-crisis emerging market options could provide some interest-level, but we clearly see the explosive nature of option ing leverage should FX see the active year we expect.volatility under stress conditions. We would choose EURPLN and USDZAR straddles to try to diversify somewhat, but more currency pairs couldWith this in mind, we would favour the following be added to the mix. This theme provides positivethemes for the year ahead: exposure to implied volatilities and could also provide many opportunities for delta hedging and active man-Long 1-year GBP Calls / USD Puts agement. – 23 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –Long 1-year USD Calls / JPY Puts Short 1-year XAU Puts / USD CallsLow delta JPY puts have been a very crowded trade Our only short volatility view is in Metals. We believeever since USDJPY spot fell firmly below 95-100… As Gold (and other precious metals) will retain their safealways with options (and trading), timing is everything. haven status for the coming year (whereas you canIt might sound strange to look for a bullish USD theme print USD, the transmutation of base metals into golddespite relentless QE, but we feel the situation in Japan is proving slightly more challenging!). With this indoes not warrant going long JPY. As with the GBP mind, we would be happy to sell downside options intheme, this benefits from a discount for upside options Gold to benefit from the high level of implied volatility.due to the volatility skew. – 24 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –E Q U I T I E S : B U L L S T O C O N T I N U E T O G E T T H E I R WAY ?We look for reasonable returns from equity markets tom-up consensus of earnings growth will be 2011 as we enter the mature phase of the earnings The current forecast is for 15 percent globally, but wecycle in 2011. A period of cyclical strength in the US only target 7 percent. With a revenue growth forecasteconomy in particular could have the market project- of only 6 percent globally, it is left to margin expansioning further reason to continue to bid up risk assets, to deliver growth in earnings. The last time marginsthough earnings growth could prove more sluggish peaked was back in 2006, but this was under unusu-than the consensus expects. We have a year-end target ally strong macroeconomic conditions. These are notfor MSCI World of 1,400, roughly a 10 percent gain on around to support such an overshoot in margin expan-the end of 2010 level around 1,275. sion now, so margins will grow at a slower pace.THE DRIVERS One of the main drivers of return in equity marketsWe expect economic growth in 2011, especially in the next year will be corporate re-leveraging. Return onU.S. and emerging markets. The increased confidence Equity (RoE) will remain under pressure as cash bal-of investors and corporate executives in the sustain- ances are currently very high while profit margins areability of the economic recovery is the very foundation peaking. In order to protect profitability companies willof our belief that solid returns in equity markets will start to increase their leverage through hiring, buybackmaterialize in 2011. As corporate executives gain confi- share programs, dividend payouts and M&A to improvedence in the recovery they will start to re-leverage their RoE. This will lead to P/E multiple expansions, whichbalance sheets, spend more on hiring and increase cap- will in our view be the main driver of returns in 2011.ital expenditures (capex), which will support earnings And there is plenty of room for P/E multiple expansion;growth and increase risk appetite for equities. Investors currently the 1-year forward P/E of MSCI World is 30will applaud these actions to improve profitability from percent below the long-term historical average andcompanies and lead to higher valuations as uncertainty even with modest earnings growth assumptions of 7about future free cash flow is reduced. Higher valua- percent the implied global P/E would be 12.8; leavingtions in particular will drive returns in equity markets in sufficient headroom for further P/E multiple expansion2011. offsetting slower growth in earnings.Normally at this stage of the earnings cycle, margins OUR REGIONAL PREFERENCESare peaking while sales have yet to really get going. In terms of regional preferences our first preference areWe do not expect a strong pick-up in sales this time still emerging markets, as this is in our view is wherearound, however, as final demand will only grow slowly we will experience the highest earnings growth led byin developed economies. Hence we expect continual GDP growth. The BRIC countries will as such not be inmargin improvement, but at a slower rate compared sweet-spot as prior, but rather single countries in bothto previous years and we therefore doubt that the bot- Asia, Latin America and to lesser extent Central- and Saxo Bank Forecasts world indices: Year-end 2011 level forecasts. Index S&P500 DJSTOXX600 Nikkei225 MSCI EM Year-end forecast 1,420 315 11,400 1,350 Implied price return 13.6% 12.5% 10.2% 19.4% Source: Bloomberg and Saxo Bank Strategy & Research.Closing prices at 29th of December used for calculating price returns. – 25 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –Eastern Europe will be amongst our favorites. The less The macroeconomic background for earnings develop-enthusiasm surrounding countries in Central- and East- ment in the U.S. is supportive. The cost of borrowingern Europe is due to the dependency of the Eurozone, money is very low – the Fed Funds rate is virtually zerowhich in our view will be the region where the least and we do not expect any change to the rate in 2011.growth is – both in terms of earnings and GDP. Our inflation expectations are also low as we forecast headline inflation to average 1.4 percent, which isThe U.S. is coming in as a strong second in the region clearly below the Fed’s target range of 2 percent. Andhierarchy and here payrolls holds the key to equity finally GDP growth is expected to grow by 2.7 percentmarket performance and the Eurozone will be in last year-over-year. In total this is a supportive macroeco-as we still expect the sovereign debt problems emerge nomic environment for equities.from time to time putting pressure on equity markets.Japan is clearly the joker here and we cannot stop SALES GROWTH, PROFIT MARGINS, AND EARNINGSthinking that we will see a rebound here. In 2010, we expected very little in terms of sales growth, but foresaw increases in margin expansion;USA: more to come from equities this year it the other way around. The main driver behind sales growth over the long term is GDP growth,Valuation metrics for the U.S. S&P500 indicate that which we forecast to average 2.7 percent this year.U.S. equities are attractive as earnings have recovered This will drive domestic demand and hence help salesfaster than prices. For 2011-12 we forecast earnings growth in S&P500. We forecast sales growth of 6.5per share of USD 92 and 99, respectively, which imply percent, while bottom-up consensus is expecting 6.8earnings growth of 9.5 percent and 7.6 percent. This below bottom-up consensus, which forecasts USD96 per share for 2011 and USD 108 per share for What surprised us in 2010 was the strength of the2012. Our year-end forecast for S&P500 is 1,420, a comeback in profit margins. The corporate reaction to13+ percent return for the year. If we decompose it, the setback in the economy in the last few years hastwo-thirds comes from earnings growth and one-third truly been amazing. We have seen accelerating marginoriginates from P/E expansion. However, it is clear from improvements in this recovery and standing on thethe multiple expansions that we could see a surprise to verge of 2011 the question is: can it continue? Thethe upside in our year-end estimate. short answer is no. Chart 5: Net Profit Margin (S&P500) Net Profit Margin 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011Source: Thomson-Reuters Data-Stream and Saxo Bank Strategy & Research. – 26 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –The low interest rate regime and the possibility of of the world increased the cost of equity and this putrefinancing debt at lower costs combined with higher downward pressure on valuations as investors wereGDP growth will be supportive of further increases reluctant to hold risky assets. These are still present,in margins, but we look for smaller improvements in but expect the economic recovery to overshadow them2011. This is partly due to our expectation of higher in- and give investors more confidence of a robust longer-put costs. Commodity prices are expected to increase, term expansion.especially industrial metals, which will inhibit growth inmargins. Add to this that further increases in produc- SECTOR PREFERENCEStivity will translate into demands for higher salaries and In terms of sector preferences we prefer in the first halfyou have our case for why the growth in margins ob- of year to ride along with the pro-cyclical wave and getserved in the last few years will not continue in 2011. exposure to companies within energy, technology andBottom-up consensus for S&P500 ex. financials is for a basic materials as these sectors are the ones who willprofit margin at 9 percent, but we look for 8.6 percent. benefit the most from further signs of the economic re- covery. Besides this sector we look for companies withBesides sales growth and continued high profit mar- a part of their sales outside the U.S. and preferablygins there is an additional reason for solid earnings within emerging markets. In the second half of 2011growth in 2011. The cash/asset balance for S&P500 we expect a rotation in equity markets towards a moreex. financials is now at 10.8 percent, which is a record midterm earnings cycle portfolio so we look to increasehigh. We look for the ratio to come down this year as exposure to healthcare and industrials.future earnings growth will be bought through sharerepurchases, M&A, and spending on capex. Saxo Bank Forecasts for S&P500 ex. financials Index Sales Growth (YoY) EBIT Margin (level) Earnings Growth (YoY) S&P500 6.5% 8.6% 9.5% Source: Thomson-Reuters Data-Stream and Saxo Bank Strategy & Research.P/E EXPANSION IS KEY IN 2011 Europe: subdued earnings growthIf we assume no expansion in P/E during 2011 thiswould leave us with a year-end target of S&P500 at The major difference compared with the equity market1,370. However as S&P500 is currently trading at a P/E outlook for the U.S. is the expected weaker growthmultiple of 13.6 of our 2011 estimated EPS and given within the Eurozone and U.K. For the companies inthe current low interest rate this implies a P/E multi- DJSTOXX600, around 62 percent of their sales areple in the range of 14 to 16. This leaves considerable within the Eurozone or the U.K. and given the weakheadroom for P/E multiple expansion pushing prices outlook for economic growth in Europe, earningshigher. The major driver of P/E multiple expansions is growth will be hurt by slow sales growth. In termsthe cost of equity, which is directly linked to investors’ of valuation, Europe should follow the U.S. and seewillingness to carry risk. The macro risks that were higher stock prices on the back of P/E expansion. Forpresent in 2010, especially the fear of contagion of 2011 we forecast earnings in DJSTOXX600 at EURthe sovereign debt crisis from Europe and to the rest 23.9 per share and for 2012 earnings at EUR 25.9 per – 27 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –share, which imply earnings growth of 7.2 percent and is partly due to more rigid labor markets in Europe. We8 percent, respectively. This is way below bottom-up forecast growth in margins of 12.9 percent for 2011consensus, which forecasts earnings at EUR 25.7 per while bottom-up consensus is looking for 16 percent.share for 2011 and EUR 28.8 per share for 2012. This leaves us with an estimated margin of 8.8 percent for DJSTOXX600 companies – somewhat higher thanOur year-end forecast for DJSTOXX600 is 315, a return the margin of 8.6 percent expected for S&P500 com-of about 12.5 percent for the year and if we decom- panies, but still not passing the all-time high back frompose this, roughly half comes from earnings growth 2007. Despite stronger profit margin development inand the other half from P/E expansion. Compared with Europe the lack of sales growth weighs heavily leav-the U.S. more weight is put on P/E expansion as the ing earnings growth of 7.2 percent for DJSTOXX600driver for European equities. compared to an expected earnings growth rate of 9.5 percent in S&P500. Chart 6: Net Profit Margin (DJSTOXX600) Net Profit Margin 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011Source: Thomson-Reuters Data-Stream and Saxo Bank Strategy & Research.SALES GROWTH, PROFIT MARGINS, AND EARNINGS As in the US besides sales growth and continued highThe macroeconomic environment in the Eurozone is profit margins there is an additional reason for reason-not supportive for earnings growth as 62 percent of able solid earnings growth in 2011. The cash/assetrevenues of DJSTOXX600 companies is from the Euro- balance for DJSTOXX600 ex. financials is at roughlyzone or U.K. Given our GDP estimates of 1.4 percent 10% though somewhat away from breaking all timeand 2 percent for the Eurozone and the U.K., respec- high, but like in the U.S. case we look for the ratio totively, earnings for these companies are not going to come down this year as future earnings growth will bebe supported as much by improving macroeconomic bought through share repurchases, M&A, and spend-conditions compared to the U.S. We forecast a sales ing on capex.growth of 5.0 percent compared to an expected U.S.sales growth rate of 6.5 percent. P/E EXPANSION IS KEY IN 2011 European equities will need to get more help from P/EThe margin expansion outlook is, however, somewhat expansion in order to reach the expected target forbetter in Europe than in the U.S. European companies DJSTOXX600 compared to the S&P500. If we assumehave not been as efficient in their efforts to streamline no expansion in P/E during 2011 this would leavetheir operations as their American counterparts, which us with a yearend target of 300. However given our – 28 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! – Saxo Bank Forecasts for DJSTOXX600 ex. financials Index Sales Growth (YoY) EBIT Margin (level) Earnings Growth (YoY) DJSTOXX600 5.0% 8.8% 7.2% Source: Thomson-Reuters Data-Stream and Saxo Bank Strategy & Research.2011 EPS estimate the 1-year forward P/E multiple SECTOR PREFERENCESis trading at 11.7 whereas the P/E multiple in these In terms of sector preferences Europe is aligned withmarket conditions might be expected to reach 13-14, the U.S. case where we prefer to ride along thewhich leaves potential upside for stocks. The trigger for pro-cyclical wave in the first half of the year and getfurther upside is higher investor confidence in the eco- exposure to companies within energy, technology andnomic recovery – though less so in Europe compared basic materials as these sectors are the ones who willto the other major developed countries. However this benefit the most from further signs of the economicis expected to lower the cost of equity and boost valu- recovery. Unlike the U.S. case we are only looking forations. companies with major part of their sales outside the Eurozone and U.K. as these regions will experienceEUROPE: WEAKER OUTLOOK COMPARED WITH low sales growth. Our preference is getting exposureOTHER MARKETS to emerging markets, but exposure to the US will alsoIn a global setting, European equities look weaker than suffice. We expect a rotation in equity markets towardsother markets, mainly due to the weaker expected a more midterm earnings cycle portfolio so we look toGDP growth, which affect sales growth as analyzed be- increase exposure to healthcare and industrials.fore in this section. The main beneficiaries of the rela-tively stronger growth in the U.S. and strong growth inemerging markets are exporters who have their majorpart of their sales outside the Eurozone or the U.K. – 29 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –COMMODITIES: A STRONG BEGINNING, BUT DANGER LIES AHEADThe commodity sector had a strong finish to 2010 ascheap money combined with an improved economic Chart 7: WTI Crude front monthoutlook supported cyclical commodities such as base 200 day MA Last Price 150metals and energy products. The weather shocksthroughout the year left global supplies of agricultural 120products struggling to keep up with demand, leaving it 90vulnerable to additional price appreciations. 60Commodity prices look set to continue to the movehigher during H1 of 2011 with the potential for an- 30 12/2007 03/2008 06/2008 09/2008 12/2008 03/2009 06/2009 09/2009 12/2009 03/2010 06/2010 09/2010other double digit return on the TR Jefferies CRB index.Demand from emerging markets like China, Brazil andIndia is expected to remain strong while emergingsigns of a U.S. recovery will increase the competition the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer, have beenfor basic resources. an important catalyst for this move.We do, however, see a risk of commodity prices over- During December, the spot price moved above the for-shooting due to high growth expectations for China ward price for the first time in two years as tighteningand the U.S. When this last occurred in 2008 com- inventory levels from increased demand helped changemodities spiked higher before tumbling as the global the shape of the forward curve. This again will improveeconomy went into reverse gear. the return that investors receive on passive investments in ETFs and index funds and help to support prices.Other factors that could have an adverse impact oncommodity prices is the continued risk of sovereign With global oil demand expected to mirror the recorddebt defaults, which twice led to corrections during from 2010 we see the potential for WTI crude trading2010, China applying the economic brakes even harder in a range between 80 and 100 dollars during 2011and, as we forecast, a stronger dollar. with the outside chance of overshooting through 100 dollars before correcting. OPEC, with a spare capacityThe phenomenal growth in exchange traded funds and of six million barrels per day, has indicated that 90 dol-commodity index funds continues, after investor hold- lars is the top of their comfort zone with any sustainedings reached a new record during 2010. Very low real move above likely to trigger a response. The specula-rates will continue to support investments in alterna- tive long position in crude oil is at an all time high andtives, such as commodities. Tight physical supplies have that will probably be one of the biggest worries aheadlead to several commodities going into backwardation as it can lead to major corrections along the way.with the price of the near term contract trading higherthan the price for later deliveries. This is benefitting We believe that gold still has some way to go and seepassive investments through ETFs and index funds as a potential for reaching 1,600 dollars over the next 12the cost of rolling forward positions on these has been months.removed. The investment space for gold has become very crowd-Towards the end of 2010 global inventories of energy ed over the past few years and that combined with ourbegan to shrink fast. This helped WTI crude oil rise forecast of a stronger dollar poses the biggest risks fortowards levels not seen during the previous two years a further price appreciation. It will therefore at times beand this is the main reason for raising the price esti- volatile, experiencing corrections of 5-10 percent, butmates for 2011. Improved economic indicators from the overall direction will be higher. – 30 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! – Chart 8: Gold spot Chart 9: CBOT Corn front month 200 day MA Last Price 200 day MA Last Price 1400 800 1200 650 1000 500 800 350 600 200 12/2007 03/2008 06/2008 09/2008 12/2008 03/2009 06/2009 09/2009 12/2009 03/2010 06/2010 09/2010 12/2007 03/2008 06/2008 09/2008 12/2008 03/2009 06/2009 09/2009 12/2009 03/2010 06/2010 09/2010The factors that drove Gold to a new all time nominal The crop most supported by fundamentals is corn withhigh in 2010 look set to continue and a positive return inventory levels at a 15-year low due to reduced yieldfor the 11th year in a row can be expected. Central and robust demand, especially from increased ethanolBanks became net buyers of gold for the first time in production and feed demand. In 2010 more than 35two decades in 2010, especially those in emerging percent of U.S. corn production went towards produc-economies such as China and India. At the same time, ing ethanol and with the forecast for higher gasolinemining companies have stopped forward selling their prices over the next year, this will support ethanol/production. corn prices. Demand for corn feed has also shown an increase, especially from China where the increasedIt is a popular belief that gold should be a hedge wealth has shifted people’s dietary behaviour towardsagainst inflation. We believe that to be inaccurate, it meat products (and corn is a popular feed grain foris a hedge against instability. The quantitative eas- livestock and poultry).ing introduced by the U.S. Federal Reserve increasedthe demand for hedges against the possible threat of Grain and soybean prices increased dramatically indeflation or subsequent inflation due to the growth 2010 driven by exceptional weather shocks across thein money supply. The sovereign debt crisis in Europe globe that limited supplies and drew down stocks atremains unresolved and it continues to attract safe- a time when demand was growing strongly. Chinahaven buyers. increased its imports of soybeans and became a net importer of corn for the first time in years. Tight sup-Investments in gold have become much easier for plies are also expected in 2011, but higher prices areretail investors to access over the last couple of years, expected to trigger increased production which shouldso much so that total holdings of gold by exchange leave prices at elevated but stable levels barring anytraded funds stands above 2,000 tons, more than additional weather shocks.twice the amount in China’s national gold reserves.These types of investments are non-leveraged and assuch will be held by investors as long-term investmentslike stocks thereby removing some of the volatility andrisks that normally accompanies investments in lever-aged gold futures. – 31 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE? A 10 STEP PLAN TO FINANCIAL STABILITY AND GROWTHWhile we forecast that the odds favour the continu- • The board of banks should be made personally liableation of the relatively feeble recovery in 2011 for the if the bank they control is becoming insolvent (asmajor economies, we are concerned that this recovery was the case with the previous partnerships in thecontinues to rest on a very unhealthy foundation of financial sector). This step will help make boards actendless public sector debt and artificial life support in a responsible and risk-averse way.provided by central bank printing presses and account-ing gimmicks. Here we suggest the 10 steps necessary • All government budgets should as a minimum beto truly get the major developed economies back on a balanced immediately via spending cuts. While nothealthy trajectory. And yes, we are fully cognizant that a pleasant exercise, it should be done in order tothese steps will not be carried out, but even a move stabilize government debt markets. The cuts shouldin their general direction in the New Year would be a concentrate on social welfare and pension schemes,great victory for the economy and a remarkable sign which are grossly underfunded and unrealisticthat sanity is gaining a foothold among the powers relative to the future tax base. This step will helpthat be. reduce government borrowing costs and make them serviceable.• All bank assets need to be marked to market. If some assets are illiquid, a tenth of the position • Governments should set out to cut taxes (especially should be sold in the market and the resultant price income taxes and capital gains taxes) dramatically should be used to mark the rest of the position on within a two-year horizon. This step will make market on the balance sheet. This step will help to capital available to small and mid-sized companies, regain trust in the financial system. which deliver most of the growth in GDP and labour utilization. It will at the same time make it more• Banks revealed to be insolvent by marking to market attractive to work rather than receive government should either be closed down via a normal, old- welfare. school bankruptcy process or – assuming they are Too Big To Fail – be taken over by government, • Central banks should tighten monetary policy in or- which should erase all shareholder equity, let the der to stimulate savings and discourage debt financ- bondholders suffer a loss and convert the bonds to ing. This will help to clear the market for savings and equity and then let the bank float again with new investments. equity. If the last step is not enough, depositors should take a hit and their cash should then be con- • Interest rate expenses should not be tax-deductible verted to equity. This step will help to reduce moral- so as to not encourage excess debt financing. hazard and let reckless speculators take responsibility for their actions rather than letting tax payers pay. • Any resulting deflation should be welcomed as a way to achieve cheaper products and restore com-• All government guarantees on behalf of the financial petitiveness in export markets. sector should be discontinued. This includes deposi- tor insurance and bond issues. It should be made • Wages should be allowed to drop as well, since the perfectly clear that any failing bank will be left on its unit labour costs (adjusted for PPP) are way too high own. No bank should be Too Big To Fail and every in the Western world. bank should be subject to the tough discipline of the (interbank) market. – 32 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –S P E C I A L R E P O R T: S O L A R E N E R G Y T O S H I N E I N 2 0 1 1 ?Despite the failure to make “progress” on climate 2011 quarterly earnings are released, we expect thechange issues at the Cancun climate change confer- market will change its mind on solar stocks and sendence in Mexico, climate change and energy policy are P/E valuations much higher from current levels forstill hot international topics. We expect the sun will trailing 12-month earnings of around 9.6. An industryshine on solar stocks in 2011 with a potential upside of for which demand is projected to grow 9.6 percentat least 30 percent from current levels. The main drivers annually until 2030 should not be valued at 9.6 timesare strong demand, expansion of valuation multiples, a earnings because earnings growth normally exceedsstable political outlook and lower production costs. growth in volume (demand) due to higher operating Chart 10: Share price development Solar an wind Industry (2008-2010) GUGGENHEIM SOLAR ETF FIRST TRUST GLOBAL WIND 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 07/2008 10/2008 01/2009 04/2009 07/2009 10/2009 01/2010 04/2010 07/2010 10/2010Source: Bloomberg. Our calculations.SOLAR STOCKS WILL RISE LIKE A PHOENIX FROM efficiency and share buy-back programs later in anTHE ASHES industry’s growth cycle.The latest years have been brutal for the solar andwind industry, as seen in the performance of the Gug- WHY DO WE LIKE SOLAR MORE THAN WIND?genheim Solar ETF and First Trust Global Wind Energy Let us look at market pricing relative to expectations. TheETF that track the solar and wind industries. The solar industry’s revenue is expected to grow 22.5 percentindices are still trading 60-70 percent lower compared in 2011 compared to 15.4 percent for wind. Profits into the summer of 2008 and even had a lousy perform- the solar industry are expected to grow at 28.7 percentance for 2010. compared to 71 percent for wind. The high growth rate expectations for wind are due to the decline in 2010Valuations on solar stocks have been held back by con- profits. With 2011 forward P/E for the solar industry atcerns that excess supply relative to demand will crush 7.5 compared to 15 for wind, the margin of safety is waythe industry’s profits. larger in solar stocks. The current forward P/E for solar stocks indicates that investors doubt the earnings growthWe believe the market is far too pessimistic and the rate in solar stocks and this is where the upside lies. If thelatest outlook for 2011 demand from the leading solar industry even gets close to 28.7 percent growth insolar companies First Solar and Trina Solar indicate earnings (anything over 15 percent might even suffice),higher demand in 2011 – even in Europe despite this could send solar stock valuations way higher. On theconcern over subsidies and tighter budgets. As the other hand, the current forward P/E of 15 for wind on a – 33 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! – Chart 11: EBITDA margin (%) (2005-2011E) Solar industry Wind industry 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010E 2011ESource: Bloomberg. Our calculations.71 percent expected earnings growth makes wind stocks With bullish expectations for 2011 from all solarunattractive compared to solar stocks. If the wind indus- companies, low valuations, increasing asset utilizationtry does not deliver there will be pressure on wind stocks and stable EBITDA margins, we expect solar stocks arethroughout 2011 unless expectations for 2012 earnings positioned to go much higher in 2011 when valuationsare revised significantly higher. multiples are expanding on strong earnings.From the perspective of industry profitability, solar HOW TO INVEST IN SOLAR STOCKSenergy is also more attractive than wind energy. Solar One way to gain basic equity exposure to solar energycompanies have historically produced slightly lower is through the Guggenheim Solar ETF, which is a broadreturns on equity compared to the wind industry with basket of solar stocks – from pure producers of wafersthe drag coming from lower leverage and asset utiliza- and PV solar panels, to producers of the new solar thintion. This is about to change and the solar industry is films and end-sellers across the U.S., Europe and Asia.expected to deliver higher return on equity in 2010 It gives you diversification, but not necessarily the high-and 2011 compared to wind driven by increasing asset est return.utilization and significantly higher profit margin. Another way to play solar stocks is through indi-Generally, the solar industry has higher operating vidual stocks. Taking into account expectations about(EBITDA) margins and less leverage compared to wind. revenue, margin and profit growth for 2011 follow-This signals a healthier competitive situation, and if ing stocks look attractive with low forward P/E ratiosthe solar industry is able to increase asset utilization, and expected EBITDA margins expansions above thereturn on equity could easily pass the 15 percent mark industry; JA Solar Holdings Co. (4.62), Solarfun Powerin 2012. Holdings Co. (4.90), LDK Solar Co. (5.44), Trina Solar (6.39) and GCL Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. (9.90).The extended tax grant program (1603) in the U.S. willsupport solar demand in 2011 and into 2012 and we RISK ASSESSMENTbelieve it will compensate the expected slowdown in Investing in solar stocks provides huge upside but itSpain and Germany due to cutbacks on subsidies there. obviously comes with a couple of risk factors such as political, currency, demand and supply risk. – 34 –
  • – OUTLOOK 2011 BUBBLES AND BULLS AND BEARS… OH MY! –The political risk in solar investments is high because than wind. The biggest driver in achieving grid paritythe industry is still heavily dependent on government is production costs on solar panels. Renewable Energysubsidies. Germany is talking about cutting the feed-in Corporation and Q-Cells, the two biggest makers oftariffs for PV solar systems by 16 percent on July 1, solar cells expect to continue lowering costs for solar2011; political decisions are obviously an important risk panels next year.factor. As the industry moves closer to grid parity thepolitical risk will, however, slowly decrease which will Life insurance companies are also a supporting driverlower the risk premium on solar stocks. With Obama’s for solar demand because they have entered theextension of the tax grant program (1603) political market as owners and are providing financing becausestability in the U.S. is secured in the short-term and solar parks provide a relatively stable income streamthe road to strong growth in U.S. renewable energy in that is also independent of other assets classes. With2011 is paved. internal rates of return on solar projects running around 8-10 percent with fairly low risk, this is a greatWith Europe’s 75 percent share of new installed solar opportunity for insurance companies to diversify theircapacity in 2009, the Euro remain an important risk investment income.factor because most of the revenue is settled in Euroand most of production costs are denominated in Chi- The growth potential is enormous. The largest PV mar-nese yuan, which lead to strong correlation between ket in Europe is currently Germany and here solar onlyearnings and the Euro. According to Bloomberg, the supplies around 0.3-0.5 percent of the total powertwo most respected and accurate currency forecasters, production so there is plenty of room for growth on aStandard Chartered and Westpac Banking, are both global basis.short-term bearish on the Euro and expect it to declineto around $1.20-1.25 by mid-2011. Third quarter DROP THE IDEOLOGY AND GO FORstatements from solar companies indicate the industry PERFORMANCEbelieves U.S. demand will compensate the falling Euro Whether global warming is a true trend or not renew-and demand in the Eurozone. able energy is here to stay because governments around the world want a cleaner and more fossil fuelConcerns over low demand in 2011 (particularly in independent energy source.Europe due to declining feed-in tariff environment andtighter budgets) and excess production of solar panels What we have learned through the financial crisis ishave previously prevented multiples to expand despite that when governments and central banks interveneincreasing aggregate earnings in the solar industry. The in the markets it tends to do it forcefully and investorslatest outlook for orders in 2011 somewhat contradict should not underestimate its impact on investmentthis concern. The extended tax cuts in the U.S. will also opportunities.add support for solar demand. Our message is this; do not underestimate the willSOLAR ENERGY IS THE FUTURE of governments to support the solar industry goingThe solar industry has evolved from infancy into a forward. We do not prefer subsidies to certain sectors,rapidly growing industry with increasingly economics of but we have to be realistic. Solar is rapidly movingscale. According to Exxon Mobil’s “Outlook for Energy towards grid parity, demand is soaring, governments– A View to 2030” renewable energy including solar is want this energy source, the solar industry will eventu-set to grow at 9.6 percent annually until 2030. ally become competitive without subsidies and its size will eventually dwarf the wind industry. In 2011, theGeneral Electric’s chief engineer, Jim Lyons, is predict- sun may shine on solar grid parity in sunny parts of the United States byaround 2015 and that solar will eventually be bigger – 35 –
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