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Economics

Take a deeper dive into the global repercussions of recent political events and explore the economic forces of inflation, wages, interest rates, taxes, unemployment, and national currencies and their potential effects on investors and policymakers, in the U.S. and around the world. 
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insights podcast episode 4

Episode 04, What’s Happening to Markets and How to Position Portfolios

Periods of market volatility are often reminders for investors to ensure investment strategies and risk tolerance are properly aligned. In this episode, we discuss recent market volatility, its implications for investors, and considerations for portfolio positioning going forward.
Markets, Economics
rio de janeiro skyline

Worried About a U.S. Recession? Look to Emerging Economies for Clues

Investors should monitor the state of emerging economies, who often feel the fallout from Fed tightening when the U.S. economy is weakening and in several instances have caused the Fed to back off raising rates.
Economics, Policy
stock ticker on top of cityscape

Considering Emerging Markets? Bonds May Be Preferable to Equities

Returns for emerging markets equities have trailed those in the U.S. considerably for more than a decade now, while emerging markets bonds have fared relatively well versus U.S. bonds until this year.
Markets, Economics
China US flags

Biden Must Restore U.S. Economic Leadership in Asia

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the need for a clear international strategy has heightened. The U.S.’s response to the Russian invasion has been formidable, but it has yet to formulate a clear approach for China and allies in Asia.
Economics
flowers blooming in desert

How Resilient Is the U.S. Economy to Higher Rates and Oil Prices?

Several factors—including elevated inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—have the potential to impact the strength of the U.S. economy in the coming year.
Economics, Markets
house for sale

Why Housing May Not Be a Good Inflation Hedge This Time

Investors need to weigh how good of an investment vehicle housing may be going forward. The main concern today is that housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many Americans, a result of record home price appreciation in the past two years coupled with surging mortgage rates this year.
Economics
biker on path

Two Pathways Forward for Biden

With federal debt at record levels, inflation at four-decade highs, and the Federal Reserve about to tighten monetary policy, federal spending must be brought under control. How can President Biden move ahead with increased defense spending while also focusing on domestic priorities?
Economics, Policy
naval ship at sea

What the End of the "Peace Dividend" Will Mean for Americans

While investors currently are focused on the near-term impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global economy and markets, the history of the Cold War suggests it may also have significant long-term repercussions.
Economics
kyiv

How the Russia-Ukraine Conflict Could Affect the Economy and Markets

History suggests that whenever there is geopolitical conflict, financial markets have reacted the most when energy prices spike and the Fed tightens monetary policy.
Economics, Markets
homes for sale

How Vulnerable Is U.S. Housing to Fed Tightening?

The average 30-year fixed-rate home loan has increased to 3.6% from 3.1% at the end of last year, which is the highest level since the coronavirus pandemic struck two years ago. This raises the question about how the U.S. housing market would respond to ongoing Fed tightening.
Economics, Markets
small town

Is the Urban-Rural Divide a Myth?

After the past two presidential elections, there has been a growing narrative about “two Americas.” One consists of thriving urban areas that voted overwhelming for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden and the other of “hurting” rural communities that went heavily for Donald Trump. 
Economics
waves crashing at sunset

The FOMC Minutes are a Wakeup Call for Investors

While skeptics believe the Fed is behind the curve, investors have not lost confidence in it. But if bond yields and the dollar were to drift higher, the stock market could encounter turbulence in the coming year after smooth sailing over the past seven quarters.
Economics
horses running

The 2022 Outlook: The Pandemic May Ebb, but Will Inflation be Tamed?

Looking at the year ahead, several questions remain. Will the coronavirus pandemic finally be reined in? How will bond yields fare as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy? And, will risk assets continue to outperform?
Economics, Markets
insights podcast episode 3

Episode 03, Is Higher Inflation Here to Stay?

Are inflation pressures likely to moderate, or is higher inflation here to stay? And, should the Fed be doing more? This episode discusses how investors may consider positioning their portfolios in light of these risks.
Economics, Policy
hiker overlooking cliff

Biden Should Signal to the Fed It’s Okay to Raise Rates Next Year

Why should President Biden do what no other U.S. president has done and indicate he is on board for the Fed to raise rates in an election year? The argument is based on both economic and political considerations.
Economics
fossil fuels burning

How to Transition Away from Fossil Fuels without Creating an Energy Shortage

As political leaders work to shift reliance on fossil fuels to alternative forms of energy, a major question is how to execute this without creating an energy shortage and higher inflation.
Policy, Economics
u.s. dollar

With Investors Unfazed by Inflation, What Could Drive Bond Yields Higher?

Investors do not appear rattled by inflation news, and 10-year Treasury yields are little changed at just over 1.5%, implying investors are willing to accept a negative real yield of more than 2 percent to hold government debt.
Markets, Economics
energy refinery

Policymakers Confront a Global Energy Crunch

Global energy prices have surged to their highest levels in several years. What are the sources of these price pressures? And what can policymakers do to alleviate them?
Policy, Economics
container ships at port

Global Supply Chain Disruptions Are Spreading, and Nobody Knows What To Do About It

The term “global supply chain disruption” has been cited frequently as one of the main consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. But what exactly does the term mean, and why does it matter?
Economics
sailboat approaching storm

The Stretch Run for Markets in 2021: Outsized Stock Returns Give Way to Caution

Even though we see the economic outlook as generally favorable after a strong stock market run and re-opening activity, we recognize that market volatility may increase, and some investors may be turning cautious—due to a variety of risk factors.
Economics, Markets
reviewing mortgage document

Why Well-Qualified Buyers are Having Trouble Securing Mortgages

Even with solid credit, borrowers may face an arduous process when getting a mortgage loan, often facing extensive delays in the approval process.
Economics
city skyline at night

China’s Property Market Not a Lehman Moment but an Economic Threat

Evergrande, China's largest property developer, faces a possible default. A selloff of China's property market would have major repercussions for China's economy—and perhaps the global economy.
Economics, Markets
now hiring

Why Unemployment Data is Challenging the Fed

With economic activity back near pre-pandemic levels and relief programs about to expire, the Fed now faces the challenge of interpreting full employment to determine monetary policy.

Markets, Economics
reflection of sunset

U.S. Stock Market Capitalization at 2X GDP: How Ominous Is It?

The logic is that the over long periods the valuation of the stock market should mirror the performance of the economy. However, there can be significant deviations in the interim owing to cyclical forces.

Markets, Economics
Fed eagle

The Fed Needs to Articulate Its Framework on Inflation

Economists are questioning how to interpret incoming data and the macro framework for assessing the inflation outlook.
Economics, Policy
100 dollar bills

Lessons from the Collapse of Bretton Woods

When the international monetary system shifted from a fixed to a floating exchange-rate regime 50 years ago, it was a milestone event that marked the end of a prolonged period of low inflation, strong economic growth, and financial stability.
Economics, Policy
Chinese flag and markets

China's Clampdown on Tech Firms and The Risk It Poses for Investors

Since Xi Jinping became China’s leader in 2012, he has taken steps to reverse the trend of allowing China’s communist system to evolve into a more market-oriented model in which private businesses coexist alongside state-owned enterprises. 
Markets, Economics
puzzle pieces

Solving the Puzzle of Falling Bond Yields: Why It Matters

Investors have faced a nearly 40 basis point drop in Treasury bond yields over the past month. Two competing explanations have been put forth, and it is important to understand both because they have different implications for financial markets.
Markets, Economics
house under construction

Is U.S. Housing Headed for Another Bust?

This question is being asked in the wake of record home price appreciation in the United States.
Markets, Economics
Federal Reserve building

2021 Midyear Outlook: Recovery's on Track but Is Inflation?

Forecasts of a powerful U.S. recovery this year appear on target. Looking ahead, the key call for investors will be whether the pickup in inflation will be temporary or sustained.
Economics, Markets
bubble

Will Higher Inflation End U.S. Asset Bubbles?

Most observers expect at least a temporary surge in inflation as the economy reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is greater uncertainty about the outlook beyond this year.
Economics, Markets
bitcoin graphic

Cryptocurrency Buyers Should Beware of China’s Authorities & the Fed

The bottom line is that in addition to their inherent risks, cryptocurrencies now face added regulatory burdens. For these reasons, we believe privately issued digital currencies should be considered speculative instruments.
Economics, Markets
cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies Are a Bubble, but Could They Serve a Purpose?

We consider cryptocurrencies to be highly speculative instruments, and investors should be cognizant of their inherent risks. 
Economics, Markets
mom multitasking

How Will We Know if Biden’s Agenda Succeeds or Fails?

As President Biden will find out, the easy part of governing is identifying worthy public needs; the hard part is paying for public programs and making sure they deliver on their objectives.
Policy, Economics
balloon inflating

Inflation Creep: What to Monitor so There’s No Surprise

The case for the Federal Reserve to taper bond purchases and to raise interest rates will become compelling well before its expected timetable of 2024. 
Economics, Markets
Wall Street

Are Equity Investors More Keynesian or Supply Side Oriented?

The policy shift that is occurring is an opportunity to test the precepts of Keynesian economics that embrace the government’s role in the economy versus supply side policies that favor tax cuts and deregulation.
Equities, Economics
episode 2

Episode 02, Economic Liftoff & Potential Risks

Fort Washington veterans weigh in on the U.S. economy and highlight some of the important issues investors are facing today. 
Economics, Policy
economic liftoff

Preparing for Economic Liftoff and What Ensues

The U.S. economy is poised for a powerful expansion but markets are likely to be choppy as the economy accelerates and inflation approaches the Fed's threshold.
Economics, Markets
US Capitol rotunda

Will Outsized Budget Deficits Spawn Inflation?

The $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus plan has been greeted enthusiastically by investors as the U.S. stock market has set record highs. However, with the U.S. budget deficit reaching extreme levels, some economist are concerned the U.S. economy could overheat and lead to inflation.
Economics, Markets
income inequality

Tackling Income Inequality: Which Policies Will Make a Difference?

The Biden administration is tackling the issue of widening income inequality. Here’s his plan to alter the trend.
Policy, Economics
U.S. dollar

The Consensus on the U.S. Dollar Is Too Bearish

Views about U.S. financial markets are relatively upbeat but forecasts for the dollar are calling for continued weakness.
Economics
podcast image

Podcast: Positioning for 2021

With a new administration and new congressional leadership, how should investors consider positioning portfolios in 2021? 
Economics, Policy
busy street

2021 Outlook: Anticipating a Return To Normalcy

Fort Washington's Senior Economic Advisor Nick Sargen shares a 2021 outlook for the economy and markets and how we're positioning investment portfolios.
Markets, Economics
white house

How the Biden Administration Plans To Tackle Income Inequality

One of the main objectives of the incoming administration is to counter growing income inequality in America. However, investors are likely to judge the Biden administration’s policies primarily by how they impact the U.S. economy overall.
Economics, Policy
small business reopening

The COVID Relief Bill: Why Compromise Is Back in Washington, D.C.

Congress crafts a plan providing much-needed relief for COVID-19. Several factors coalesced encouraging Congressional leaders to reach an agreement but it may be difficult to sustain the spirit of compromise.
Economics, Policy
Capitol Building

Why Don’t Outsized Budget Deficits Matter?

The costs of outsized deficits may not be apparent now, but they will become more visible in the future if federal spending is not brought under control.
Economics, Markets
us dollar

The End of the Dollar’s Remarkable Surge

The U.S. dollar experienced a remarkable run over the past decade. March became the turning point coinciding with unprecedented U.S. policy actions to combat COVID-19. The dollar is likely to remain under pressure for the balance of the year and into 2021.
Economics
surfer in ocean

2020 Midyear Outlook: Navigating Cross Currents

There is a high degree of uncertainty about how the economy will fare in the balance of 2020 and into 2021. Many investors are upbeat that it is headed for a quick recovery, but most economists believe recovery will be gradual and uneven following an initial bounce. What weighs on Fed officials is the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus cases that could hinder the re-opening of businesses.
Markets, Economics
two paths

May Jobs: Recovery Is Underway, but the Path Is Uncertain

The May jobs report surprised many investors who were prepared for a large increase in the jobless rate. While the news was a relief to the Federal Reserve, the numbers underestimate the full impact of COVID-19 on labor. Even though the U.S. stock market is back to levels before the pandemic, the path to recovery is still unclear. 
Markets, Economics
international currency

Fighting Coronavirus: Who Will Pay?

While the U.S. government’s efforts to combat COVID-19 will likely lead to a post-war record budget deficit, bond yields have fallen to record lows amid a global recession. The long-term prognosis is problematic, however, because deficits are likely to remain abnormally high this decade.
Economics
upside down world

The Coronavirus Shock Versus Others

The coronavirus shock is different from previous ones. However, the four-step framework we use to analyze the shocks on markets is still relevant today. 
Markets, Economics
tipping point

Tipping Point for the Global Economy

The conflict over oil and growing worries about COVID-19 marks the first time the global economy experienced simultaneous supply shocks. Markets are now signaling a tipping point has been reached with the global economy on the cusp of recession.
Economics, Markets
clouds lifting over mountain

Are the Trade Clouds Finally Lifting?

For the past 18 months, the greatest risk to the global economy and markets has been the ongoing escalation in the trade conflict between the U.S. and China. 
Economics
Edge of cliff as an example of being on the brink

Quarterly Commentary: Back From the Brink

Senior Economic Advisor Nick Sargen shares his insight on monetary policy easing, trade tensions and the impact on the U.S. economy, and possible investment implications. 
Markets, Economics
Shipping containers will trade war spawn currency war

Will the Trade War Spawn a Currency War?

Investors should be prepared for market turbulence as the trade war with China could escalate further.
Economics
treasury building an example of us bonds

U.S. Bond Yields Plummet

Ten-year yields currently are around 2.1%, their lowest level since mid-2017, and about 115 basis points below the high of 3.25% reached last November.
Fixed Income, Economics
Austin Texas suburban countryside

What Will End History's Longest Economic Expansion?

The current economic expansion is about to surpass the ten-year mark, which would make it the longest in U.S. history.  
Economics
Complete puzzle - the enigma of the tame wage increases

The Enigma of Tame Wage Increases

An ongoing puzzle for investors and policymakers alike is the tame pace of wage increases even as unemployment (U-3) has fallen below 4%.
Economics
micro shot of american currency

What’s Ailing the U.S. Dollar?

The U.S. dollar has weakened against most currencies this year and especially against the euro. This flies in the face of forecasts that called for it to strengthen.
Economics
France - time to consider Europe

Time to Consider Europe

Emmanuel Macron’s election as President of France has buoyed European markets, as it is the third election this year in which populist candidates have been defeated.
Economics
person voting during election

2016 Election Surprise: Focus on Trump’s Economic Policies

The immediate effect of Donald Trump's victory is likely to be heightened market volatility while market participants will assess the economic policies of the Trump Administration.
Economics
bear and bull market

Trump Economics: Reaganomics With a Dose of Mercantilism

Donald Trump unveiled his plans for the U.S. economy. Specifically, he pledged to restore growth of 3.5% per annum and to create 25 million jobs over the next decade.
Economics
chinese town in the mountains

Origins of China's Miracle & Relevance Today

Deng’s approach combined strategic planning by the central government with decentralized decision making at the regional and local levels.
Economics
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