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Late-cycle blues

  • Macro: Global growth is set to weaken further to 2.7% in 2020, as the US economy is likely to enter a downturn, protectionist tensions are unlikely to fade materially and the resilience of the domestic drivers of eurozone growth starts to wane. The Fed will probably cut rates by 100bp, while the ECB is expected to stand pat and focus on its policy review. Economic growth in the CEE region will likely slow as a result of external headwinds.
  • FI: Government bonds should remain supported throughout 2020. We expect 10Y US yields to fall to 1.50%, with the curve bull-steepening. Room for lower Bund yields is more limited as the bar for further ECB rate cuts is high and the Bund curve is quite flat. The 10Y yield will likely hit -0.50% at end-2020.
  • FX: Narrower growth and rate differentials between the US and the eurozone offer EUR-USD some upside potential. We expect the GBP to recover but this will likely be slowed by BoE easing and the risk of a Brexit-related “cliff edge” in December 2020.
  • Equities: We anticipate strong corrections of up to 20% in global equities in 1H20, with some relief by year-end. 2020 will be dominated by low earnings growth in Europe and slowing earnings growth in the US. We think present consensus estimates are too high.
  • Credit: The late-stage credit cycle warrants defensive positioning in European IG and HY credit, with a preference for non-cyclical sectors. Technical factors such as the CSPP should support credit, though this will likely be balanced by a deterioration in credit fundamentals and the gap to valuations will widen further.
  • CEEMEA: EM hard-currency credit is set to post a good, mostly carry-related performance in 2020 of more than 5%. Our preference remains BBB and BB rated credit.

Source: UniCredit Research – The UniCredit Macro & Markets 2020-21 Outlook, 21 November 2019, 
Executive summary