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Welcome to the first weekly macroeconomic round-up of the new year, where we spotlight a few of the most significant events in the last few weeks.

The latest (December 2021) minutes from the Federal Open Markets Committee emphasise the need for imminent policy tightening, including tapering to reverse quantitative easing later this year. Some committee members suggested an imminent need for balance sheet shrinkage.

Observations from committee members included broad agreement that the Federal Reserve (Fed) should start reducing its balance sheet soon after its next interest rate rise, which is expected in the first half of 2022. Some committee members observed that the strength of the economic recovery to date should permit a faster rate of shrinkage than during the previous cycle. At present, the Fed is on course to wind down its quantitative easing programme by mid-2022.

This was a significant hawkish surprise for the markets, which had anticipated a pause between the end of tapering and the start of balance sheet shrinkage. Expectations for US interest rate hikes increased materially, with a knock-on effect on US sovereign fixed income yields. The US 10-year interest rate increased by the most in a week since the beginning of the pandemic, jumping from 1.51% to 1.80%. This represents a new post-pandemic high.

European inflation rises to fresh all time high

Economists had expected a slowdown in European price pressures, but Eurozone inflation continued to rise, moving from 4.9% in November to 5.0% in December. Energy inflation moderated from 27.5% to 26.0% over the past 12 months but this was more than offset by higher prices for unprocessed food, which rose from 1.9% to 4.6%. After stripping out volatile elements such as food and energy, core inflation was unchanged at 2.6%. With inflation still well above its 2% target, the ECB will remain under pressure to tighten policy.

US labour activity slows as Omicron weighs on confidence

US employers added only 199,000 jobs in December as news of the Omicron variant caused some to put hiring on hold. This was substantially lower than the 444,000 jobs expected by economists and a slowdown from November’s addition of 249,000 jobs. This brings the overall unemployment rate down from 4.2% to 3.9%, despite the fact that there are still 3.6m fewer jobs than at the start of the pandemic.

The shortfall is accounted for by a lower labour participation rate, with many of those who left work in 2020 electing to retire or find ways of earning income outside of the traditional labour force. For the Fed, unemployment below 4% equates to full employment, which is one of the central bank’s preconditions to start policy tightening.

Supply chain blockages may be clearing

In more positive news, there was some evidence that the blockages and disruption in supply chains that roiled US manufacturing firms for much of 2021 may now finally be clearing.

The ISM manufacturing survey showed that prices paid for factory inputs by US manufacturers fell by the most in over a decade.  It was also encouraging that survey respondents noted improvements in performance by suppliers and an increase in on-time deliveries.

Market review - Higher yields prompt rotation towards value stocks

The surprisingly hawkish tone from the Fed dominated market movements last week, with the US 10-Year Treasury yield rising briefly to above 1.8% for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The dramatic increase in US yields triggered a rotation in equity markets away from technology and into shorter-duration assets such as value stocks. The domestic US equity market ended the week down 2.5% as measured by the S&P 500 index. Energy and financials companies outperformed other sectors.

Look out for next week’s update, where we’ll be focusing on the US inflation, China inflation and UK growth. 


All details in this article are provided for information purposes only and should not be misinterpreted as investment advice or taxation advice.

Where the data in this article comes partially from third party sources the accuracy, completeness or correctness of the information contained in this publication is not guaranteed, and third-party data is provided without any warranties of any kind.  Sarasin & Partners LLP shall have no liability in connection with third party data.

© 2022 Sarasin & Partners LLP – all rights reserved.  This article can only be distributed or reproduced with permission from Sarasin & Partners LLP. Please contact [email protected]

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The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

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The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

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The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

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It is not for distribution outside the UK and should not be relied upon by private investors. It is not available for access by US Nationals

Residents of the United States of America and Hong Kong are not permitted to access the website of the Bank J. Safra Sarasin group of companies according to legal restrictions imposed by their respective jurisdictions..This will also apply to all other jurisdictions where similar restrictions exist.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

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This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

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The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

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It is not for distribution outside the UK and should not be relied upon by private investors. It is not available for access by US Nationals

Residents of the United States of America and Hong Kong are not permitted to access the website of the Bank J. Safra Sarasin group of companies according to legal restrictions imposed by their respective jurisdictions..This will also apply to all other jurisdictions where similar restrictions exist.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Cookies and other policies

Please note that your internet browser needs to accept cookies in order to enter this website. A cookie is a small data file that is used by websites to send information to the user’s internet browser and the internet browser to return the information to the website. If it is not the case already, you may need to make changes to your internet browser settings to accept the cookies required to enter this website.

By continuing to access this website, you agree to the above warnings and important information. Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in South Africa by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for South African residents only and not for distribution outside South Africa. If you are not a South African resident, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Cookies and other policies

Please note that your internet browser needs to accept cookies in order to enter this website. A cookie is a small data file that is used by websites to send information to the user’s internet browser and the internet browser to return the information to the website. If it is not the case already, you may need to make changes to your internet browser settings to accept the cookies required to enter this website.

By continuing to access this website, you agree to the above warnings and important information. Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in South Africa by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for South African residents who are:

  • investment professionals;
  • our product distributor partners; or
  • regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution outside South Africa and should not be relied upon by private investors. It is not available for access by US Nationals

Residents of the United States of America and Hong Kong are not permitted to access the website of the Bank J. Safra Sarasin group of companies according to legal restrictions imposed by their respective jurisdictions. This will also apply to all other jurisdictions where similar restrictions exist.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgment at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Cookies and other policies

Please note that your internet browser needs to accept cookies in order to enter this website. A cookie is a small data file that is used by websites to send information to the user’s internet browser and the internet browser to return the information to the website. If it is not the case already, you may need to make changes to your internet browser settings to accept the cookies required to enter this website.

By continuing to access this website, you agree to the above warnings and important information. Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

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