Easy Money

“The world is going up in a straight line, but for how long?” Such was one Euro banker’s query from the lofty aerie at the Davos World Economic Forum. Despite potential global worries including terrorism, nationalism, and bubblism, the mood was buoyant. “There’s always things to worry about,’ said another, “but not a lot until the middle of 2019.”

We’ll put that on the calendar. Still, boisterous bankers give us pause. What are we missing?

Global synchronization – the new watchword – means the world’s economies are headed together in the same direction – from weakness to strength. But behind the scenes central banks are either tightening monetary policy, or prepping to do so. The WSJ reports the Fed, ECB, BofJ, and BofE will pull back on asset purchases 70% by the end of the year.

The likelihood of more volatility and price corrections down the line seems obvious, yet markets are taking this in stride. Nor does the prospect of higher rates seem to be fazing investors. Debt to ebitda over six times when Libor is 1% is one thing. But at 3-4% you’ve got a bit different credit story.