MACRO NEWS

 

Fed hikes rates, reveals plan to shrink bond holdings
Despite falling inflation data in recent months, the US Federal Reserve hiked rates on Wednesday, and indicated it will likely hike rates once more this year. Also, the central bank laid out the framework it will use when it begins to shrink its massive balance sheet, a process it indicated will begin later this year. The Fed will initially allow $10 billion in securities to mature each month — $6 billion in Treasuries and $4 billion in mortgage and agency debt — gradually increasing until it reaches a cap of $50 billion a month. In her Wednesday press conference, Fed chair Janet Yellen chalked up the recent decline in inflation to one-off factors such as falling prices for cell phone service and prescription drugs. Despite three consecutive monthly declines in consumer prices, the Federal Open Market Committee said that it expects inflation to stabilize around the committee’s 2% target in the medium term. Despite three rates hikes, yields on US 10-year notes are nearly a half-percent lower today than they were when the FOMC resumed its tightening cycle in December 2016.

 

New party set to grab French majority
French president Emmanuel Macron’s Republic on the Move party is set to secure a significant majority in the National Assembly, based on voting in the first round of the two-round process. His party is projected to win as many as 450 of the 577 seats in France’s lower house, potentially giving him the ability to push through needed, but previously unpopular, reforms. The final round of voting takes place on Sunday, 18 June.

 

UK election fallout reverberates
Credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service warned this week that the minority government resulting from the recent snap election in the United Kingdom further complicates Brexit negotiations with the European Union. The latest political developments are a credit negative, and the government will likely be forced to put fiscal deficit cuts on hold, the agency said. Meanwhile, inflation remains a major concern for Bank of England policymakers after consumer prices rose 2.9% versus a year ago, the fastest pace in nearly four years. Markets were caught by surprise as three members of the eight- member Monetary Policy Committee — there is one vacancy on the committee — voted to raise interest rates this week in order to rein in inflation. London’s financial community had expected to hear from Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond and Bank of England governor Mark Carney late in the week, but both cancelled scheduled speeches out of respect for those killed and injured in the Grenfell Tower apartment building fire. Hammond was expected to make the case for a Brexit that suits the needs of British business. Prime Minister Theresa May remains in the political hot seat after losing her party’s majority in last week’s general election, telling members of her Conservative Party that she got them into this mess and that she will get them out.

 

IMF ups China outlook
The International Monetary Fund raised its gross domestic product forecast for China to 6.7% in 2017, up from its prior 6.6% projection, the second time the fund has boosted its outlook. China should embrace reform while growth is strong, the IMF said, since buffers are sufficient to ease the transition and to avoid sharp adjustments down the road.

 

Greek debt relief will have to wait
Greece’s creditors reached another deal to release a further round of funding to keep the country afloat. The lifeline did not include an agreement to cut Greece’s debt load, as had been hoped, postponing discussions on that matter until August 2018. Under the terms of the deal, Greece will be granted access to an additional €8.5 billion, though its debt remains excluded from the European Central Bank’s asset purchase program. Greek unemployment stands at 23%, and the Greek economy has shrunk 27% since 2008, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

 

US revises Cuba policy
The Trump administration announced a revised Cuba policy on Friday that will tighten rules on Americans traveling to Cuba and restrict US companies from doing business with entities controlled by the Cuban military. Exceptions will be made for US air carriers and cruise lines.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

Date

Country/Area

Release/Event

Sun, 18 Jun

France

Final round – parliamentary elections

Mon, 19 Jun

United Kingdom

Brexit negotiations commence

Wed, 21 Jun

United States

Existing home sales

Thu, 22 Jun

United States

 Leading economic indicators

Fri, 23 Jun

Global

Flash purchasing managers indices

Fri, 23 Jun

Canada

Consumer price index

 

 

 

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In any market environment, we strongly believe that investors should stay diversified across a variety of asset classes. By working closely with your financial advisor, you can help ensure that your portfolio is properly diversified and that your financial plan supports your long-term goals, time horizon and tolerance for risk. Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss.

 

The information included above as well as individual companies and/or securities mentioned should not be construed as investment advice, a recommendation to buy or sell or an indication of trading intent on behalf of any MFS product.

 

Securities discussed may or may not be holdings in any of the MFS funds. For a complete list of holdings for any MFS portfolio, please see the most recent annual, semiannual or quarterly report. Full holdings are also available on the individual Fund Summary tab in the Products section of mfs.com.

 

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Sources: MFS research; The Wall Street Journal; The Wall Street Journal Online; Bloomberg News;Financial Times; Forbes.com; CNNMoney.com; NBCNews.com.

 

This content is directed at investment professionals only.

 

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