The New Normal has Devolved Into A “Race to the Bottom” For Rates and Currencies

Worldwide bond yields are plummeting as fear grips the market.  The 10 year T is at 1.71%, after dropping to a 3 year low of 1.60% today.  Last Tuesday it was at 2.08%, the day before the confusing and market disappointing Fed announcement.  That seems like ages ago after a tumultuous week featuring one of the market’s worst fears: trade disputes both actual and threatened.  A pillar of the post Cold War world economic order has been free trade and unmanipulated.  Interestingly, the last time the 10 year was below today’s yield was in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.  The specter of major economies manipulating currencies was triggered this week as China allowed the yuan to drift beyond a key level in relation to the US dollar.  Today, 3 significant central banks (Thailand, India, New Zealand) cut rates significantly ranging from 0.25% to 0.50%.  This will devalue those currencies as smaller countries feel they need to keep up with China and the US.  Will a worldwide devaluation of currency finally trigger inflation? Stay tuned. By David R. Pascale, Jr. , Senior Vice President at George Smith Partners