Of all the world’s central banks, the outlook of the US Federal Reserve is the most clear: Tapering of bond purchases will continue at the rate of USD10 billion per meeting, with rate hikes expected to start by the middle of next year. The European Central Bank’s (ECB) approach is bi-polar – acknowledging the deflation risk in the Eurozone on the one hand but lacking the urgency of implementing a policy to avert it on the other. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) is still only halfway to achieving its +2% inflation target whilst the Bank of England (BoE) is debating the timing of the first rate hike (likely later this year). The S&P 500 (SPX) and particularly Tech and Biotech stocks have suffered recently. Back in 2011, stocks sold off because there was widespread concern of the US economy tipping back into recession. There is no such fear this time. Today, US GDP is growing at +2.5%, the US Jobs picture is getting better and the unemployment rate is trending lower. Therefore, it is important to keep it all in perspective and not get overly bearish. This week, India went to the polls in what may turn out to be a historic upset for the country’s long-ruling Congress party. India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the ruling Congress party have created a bubbling pot of discontent. India needs a leader that can reform government institutions and it may get such a reformer in Mr Narendra Modi on May 16. A good showing by Indian assets will be a big boost to emerging market sentiment as a whole.
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