Trump has proposed very large tax cuts, and he is likely to have the support of a Republican-led legislative branch in enacting those proposals. Lower taxes could mean many things, including larger fiscal deficits if revenues fall and government spending is not cut. At the moment, there appear to be no plans for massive spending cuts. If the deficit increases, the US Department of the Treasury will need to issue more bonds to finance it, and I believe there will be a bias toward higher interest rates in such an environment.
On the campaign trail and in the presidential debates, President-elect Trump voiced his opposition to the Federal Reserve’s low interest rate policy. While the Fed is an independent central bank, Trump may choose — when her term expires in 2018 — to replace Chair Janet Yellen with someone more hawkish, which could lead to higher short-term rates down the road. Expect the regulatory burden on banks to be less onerous under a Trump administration than it would have been under Clinton.
A few final thoughts. The risk of price controls on the pharmaceutical industry has fallen dramatically with Trump’s election. Businesses broadly will likely see a reduction in government red tape. The impact of large tax cuts remains an open question. Will they lead to a sustained boost in economic growth? History doesn’t offer much evidence of this since the biggest chunk of tax cuts falls to the top 10% of earners, who tend to be savers as opposed to spenders. A lot of the tax cuts could end up in the banks as savings rather than recirculated into the Main Street economy. It’s hard to say for sure, but the outlook from here suggests a more cautious approach is warranted for both bond and equity investors as they digest the potential for a combination of tariffs and somewhat higher interest rates in the future.
The views expressed are those of James Swanson and are subject to change at any time. These views are for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a recommendation or solicitation or as investment advice from the Advisor.
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