Key Takeaways from the Forum:
Curt Custard, Head of Global Investment Solutions, Chair of the Cyclical Market Forum (Chicago)
"In the US, we've been in a bit of a Goldilocks period, with enough growth to keep up market momentum, but not too much to warrant an end to historic accommodative monetary policy. That balance has been supportive for risk markets for quite some time, but it's unclear how much longer that dynamic can continue. Investors across the globe seem almost too sanguine right now, which is concerning. Although the chances of a policy error in Europe are not significant, that potential outcome could cause a disruption in a range of equity and fixed income markets."
Joshua McCallum, Senior Economist, Fixed Income (London)"I'm more optimistic for the year ahead, largely based on my view of the US. I believe there will be significantly higher GDP growth in the US than expected. When you suggest a GDP growth number that begins with a 3, or even a quarter beginning with a 4, they think you're being wildly optimistic. But historically, at this stage of the economic cycle, those numbers are actually quite awful." Michele Gambera, Head of Quantitative Analysis, Global Investment Solutions (Chicago) "I see two major issues right now – one that is visible and one that many may not have been noticed. The first issue is the risk of too low inflation in developed countries, and particularly in the eurozone. Moderately increased inflation could help with deleveraging by reducing the real burden of debt, while the risk is that more austerity could lead to deflation and further economic contraction. The second issue is progress on a European banking union, which has received less media attention. If a banking union agreement is reached, it could thaw bank lending and lead to growth in Europe and beyond."