Go for carry as central banks approach peak rates

  • Macro: We forecast a mild technical recession in both the US and the eurozone, followed by a below-trend recovery. Inflation is set to decelerate meaningfully in 2023. The Fed and the ECB are likely to finish their tightening cycle by early next year and to start cutting rates in 2024.
  • FI: Long-dated yields are likely to be close to their peaks. Convincing signals that inflation is easing will give central banks a green light to rein in some of the recent tightening, leading to a bull market revival and curve steepening.
  • FX: The USD is set to further loosen its grip, but its strength is unlikely to be fully reversed. By the end of our forecast horizon, we expect EUR-USD to climb to 1.10-1.12 and we see GBP-USD back above 1.20, USD-JPY below 135 and USD-CNY down to 6.90. We remain bearish on the CEE3 currencies, the TRY and the RUB.
  • Equities: Following a volatile sideways movement early in the year, equities have potential to rise by about 10% in 2023, primarily supported by valuation expansion. Earnings growth should be flat and is unlikely to accelerate before 2024. Our 2023 year-end index targets are Euro STOXX 50 4200, DAX 15500 and S&P 500 4300 index points.
  • Credit: We expect a solid year in European credit – both in financials and non-financials – though spread tightening is likely to take place only in 2H23. Lower tiers of the capital structure and high yield are likely to outperform, mainly thanks to high carry. We prefer HY NFI and Bank AT1s over IG seniors.
  • ESG: Greeniums are set to move sideways or richen moderately as strong demand for ESG assets outpaces new issuance. Policy initiatives and the transforming energy landscape will support interest in the asset class.

Source: UniCredit Research - CEE Quarterly, 17 November 2022, Executive summary