Cracking the Code to This Economic Cycle | Summary and Q&A

September 6, 2023
Real Vision
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Cracking the Code to This Economic Cycle


After decades of secular stagnation, there are signs that the global economy is undergoing a structural shift, with policymakers rediscovering fiscal tools and a potential increase in capital expenditure (capex). This shift could lead to a soft landing and higher interest rates, impacting markets and investment strategies.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How do policymakers's rediscovery of fiscal tools impact the economic landscape?

The shift towards policymakers using fiscal tools, as evidenced by increased reliance on fiscal stimulus, has the potential to reshape the economic landscape. Historically, central banks have played a dominant role in managing economic cycles through monetary policy. However, if governments increasingly employ fiscal measures, such as direct payments to individuals, the response to economic downturns could be more rapid and result in more V-shaped recoveries. This change could lead to a departure from the saucer-shaped recoveries seen in the past few decades.

Q: How might the shift towards increased capex impact investment markets?

The potential increase in capital expenditure holds implications for investment markets. If corporations allocate more funds to capex, certain sectors could benefit. For example, companies involved in infrastructure development, defense spending, climate mitigation, and public infrastructure projects may experience increased demand. Additionally, the prospect of tighter labor markets and rising wages may drive companies to invest in labor-replacing capex to enhance productivity. However, the impact on investment markets will depend on how the transition unfolds and its timing.

Q: What are some factors contributing to the potential structural shift?

Several factors are contributing to the potential structural shift in the global economy. Firstly, policymakers have started to rely more on fiscal tools to manage economic cycles, moving away from a heavy reliance on central banks. Secondly, there has been a growing focus on capex due to the need to address fragilities in various sectors, geopolitical risks, climate mitigation, and a push for public infrastructure development. Additionally, labor market dynamics, including shifts in migration flows and the importance of labor productivity, may play a role in this structural change.

Q: What are the potential implications of higher interest rates in the future?

The potential rise in interest rates, particularly long-end rates, could have significant implications for various aspects of the economy. Higher interest rates may impact the attractiveness of leverage, as borrowing costs increase. This could have consequences for investors who have relied on leverage to enhance their returns. Additionally, higher rates could affect the relationship between equity and bond markets, potentially reducing the inverse correlation observed in recent years. Furthermore, asset classes that have thrived in a low-rate environment, such as fixed income, may face challenges as rates rise. Overall, the potential for higher interest rates suggests a shifting investment landscape.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The global economy has been in a period of secular stagnation, with excess saving and lower interest rates being key factors.

  • Structural changes, such as policymakers emphasizing fiscal tools and an increase in capex, could lead to a shift in the economic landscape.

  • Factors including fiscal policy, capex, climate mitigation, and higher public infrastructure spending are contributing to the potential shift.

  • This structural change could result in higher interest rates, decreased inverse equity-bond correlation, and an impact on investment strategies.

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