JPMorgan Sees Global Economic Pick-up Spurring Mediocre Returns

(Bloomberg) –JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists see next year’s expected global economic pick-up generating sub-par returns across the fixed-income, currency and commodity complex.

Developed-market bonds, as might be expected, will be laggards, with JPMorgan projecting losses in the single-digit percent range. More surprising might be the single-digit losses in commodities. Investors will get gains elsewhere, but not to the same extent typically registered in economic rebounds, the bank says.

Investment-grade credit — where premiums are already low — will see single-digit gains, while U.S. high yield and emerging-market credit will record mid-to-high single digit percent gains, according to JPMorgan.

Read: Record $2.4 trillion global bond binge is threatening investor returns

“This isn’t the sort of return spectrum most would expect at a major turning point in the global economy,” JPMorgan strategists including John Normand, Mislav Matejka and Dubravko Lakos-Bujas wrote in a note Friday. “The cause is an unusual macro and policy environment combined with high valuations in most of FICC.”

When global growth improved following a mid-cycle slump in the past — as in 1995, 1999, 2012 and 2016 — defensive assets delivered below-average or negative returns, while cyclicals such as credit, emerging markets and commodities posted above-average ones, according to JPMorgan’s analysis.

“Even if the more cyclical sectors of FICC beat bonds and cash next year, there wouldn’t be much precedent for the entire FICC spectrum to return less than their historical average,” the team wrote.

Among the group’s projections for 2020:

  • The dollar will be little changed, with the euro at $1.14 and the yen at 110 per-dollar by year-end
  • Ten-year Treasury yields edge up to 2.05%. German bunds tumble, with yields climbing to -0.05%, while 10-year Japanese yields tick up to 0.05% in late 2020
  • Spreads on U.S. high-grade and high-yield credit, and emerging-market corporate credit, will tighten
  • The Bloomberg Commodity Index will drop nearly 6%; Brent crude will fall to $55.60 a barrel in the fourth quarter
  • The bank advises a short gold position, but has a “fundamentally constructive outlook” for agriculture
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