MBI Insights

Markets – the Big Bang and the way forward

April 1, 2019

Advocates of the Big Bang theory believe that the expanding universe could end up either in a Big Freeze – where the universe stops expanding – or the opposite, a Big Crunch – where the universe contracts. We believe that, over the medium term, financial markets can have similar outcomes. Here’s a brief explanation.

The unprecedented 2007-08 financial crisis caused significant collateral damage. Massive interventions by central banks to save the global financial system caused unintended consequences. By leaving interest rates at excessively low levels for a long period of time, central banks created an environment where the perception is that rates will remain low forever. This phenomenon has long existed in Japan, is more recent in Europe, and has spread to Canada and the United States of late. This perception causes investors to potentially react very strongly to a small rise in rates (considering the effect of debt and leverage in the economy) and not at all to a decline in interest rates. Additionally, it renders interest rates a lesser reliable indicator of the economic reality of any country. Increasingly debt is issued that does not reflect real credit risk.

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