Coffee Break

Coffee Break:
  • Week

Last week in a nutshell

  • Facing a crisis of confidence in UK assets as tightening monetary policy opposes accommodative fiscal policy, the Bank of England intervened on the Gilt Market, buying bonds and postponed the start of quantitative tightening by one month.
  • In the euro zone, preliminary consumer price inflation data for September showed an above-expectations acceleration to 10.0%. Germany announced a €200bn shield to tackle the rise in energy prices.
  • After the 75bp hike in the Fed funds, various Federal Reserve members delivered a sober message. For Cleveland Fed’s Loretta Mester “We’re still not even in restricted territory” while Vice Chair Lael Brainard reminded that Fed policy needs to be restrictive for some time.
  • Tensions are rising further from already high levels in Europe. Suspected sabotage in the Nord Stream gas pipelines and the annexation of occupied land in Ukraine by Russian President Putin represented a new escalation.

What’s next?

  • The US job report for September is expected to be around 250k creations. Investors are looking for signs of softness in the economy that could ease ongoing inflationary pressures.
  • On the data front, several countries will publish their purchasing manager indexes (PMI). With several tensions stemming from the pandemic and the war, the data will be key to analyse the recent trends in the manufacturing and services sectors into the final quarter of the year.
  • Brazil will digest the results of the presidential election. Ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is facing an October 30th runoff against current President Jair Bolsonaro.
  • On the geopolitical front, OPEC+ countries will be gathering its members to discuss about a potential oil output cut. The European Union will hold a Summit to discuss the evolution of the war in Ukraine and its impact on EU households and corporates.


Investment convictions

Core scenario

  • The risks we previously outlined are starting to materialize and are now part of the scenario.
  • As a result, our asset allocation has become slightly more prudent as central banks are committing for even higher rates for longer, leading us to reduce the portfolio duration to a slightly short positioning.
  • The Fed continues its hiking cycle along with a quantitative tightening, i.e., a balance sheet reduction. In our best-case scenario, the Fed succeeds in a soft landing of the economy while avoiding a full-blown recession.
  • Inflation is at highs in the euro zone, hitting businesses, consumers, and ECB policymakers alike. The ECB has made it clear that the only path forward is higher rates.
  • Our equity allocation reflects the conviction that European equities are set to underperform in an environment of high inflation, a hawkish ECB and a sharp slowdown in economic growth. As a result, we expect more substantial earnings downgrades in the region than elsewhere. Given the unfavourable risk/reward, we have a negative stance on euro zone equities.
  • While the outlook for global equities deteriorates as revenues, margins and, ultimately, profits could be revised down, we expect emerging market equities in Asia to outperform as valuation has become attractive while the region keeps superior growth prospects vs. developed markets.



  • Upside risks include that central bank actions are nearly priced for peak hawkishness and weak sentiment and positioning. Further, governments in Europe are adding fiscal aid as the energy crisis deepens, which could mitigate its negative impact.
  • Downside risks would be a monetary policy error via over-tightening in the US or a sharp recession risk via a deeper energy crisis in Europe.
  • The war in Ukraine is ongoing and signs of discomfort with Moscow are growing in the international community.
  • The threat of COVID-19, and its variants, remain as the virus keeps evolving and spreading at various speed throughout the world.


Cross asset strategy

  1. Our multi-asset strategy stays more tactical than usual and can be adapted quickly:
    • Underweight euro zone equities, with a derivative strategy in place.
    • Neutral UK equities, resilient sector composition and global exposure.
    • Neutral US equities, with an actively managed derivative strategy.
    • Neutral Emerging markets, but positive on Asian Emerging markets, expected to outperform as valuation has become attractive while the region keeps superior growth prospects vs. developed markets.
    • Neutral Japanese equities, as accommodative central bank, and cyclical sector exposure act as opposite forces for investor attractiveness.
    • Positive on sectors, such as healthcare, consumer staples and the less cyclical segments of the technology sector.
    • Positive on some commodities, including gold.
    • In the fixed income universe, we have tactically reduced our portfolio duration and are now slightly short duration.
    • We continue to diversify and source the carry via emerging debt.
  2. In our long-term thematics and trends allocation: While keeping a wide spectrum of long-term convictions, we will favour Climate Action (linked to the energy shift) and keep Health Care, Tech and Innovation.
  3. In our currency strategy, we diversify outside the euro zone:
      • We are long CAD and JPY and underweight EUR.


Our Positioning

We have tactically reduced our portfolio duration and are now slightly short duration as growth has so far shown resilience while inflation continues to surprise on the upside, leading central banks to tighten even more. Strategically, we have gradually increased our fixed income exposure duration along with central bank monetary tightening since the spring as bond yields are now in positive territory. We remain overall neutral equities but underweight euro zone because of the unfavourable risk/reward ratio. We keep using derivatives. We are adding the JPY as we identify various strengthening drivers. We have taken some profit on our long commodity currency exposure but keep a slight overweight which is expressed in the portfolio via the CAD.



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