There are knowns and there are known unknowns, former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld uttered in February 2002. The man who advocated for an invasion of Iraq was involved in a known unknown himself when the George W. Bush administration stated that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Looking at interest rate policy and potential risk around the world, Bank of America Merrill Lynch considers the “Known Unknowns” going forward. They include a heavy dose of interest rate rise introspection, the bank report noted, preparing traders for the coming week.
Increased Fed hawkishness could impact markets, notes BAML
The US Federal Reserve is anticipated to strike a more hawkish pose at next week’s Jackson Hole symposium and in FOMC minutes to be released Wednesday August 17, the August 14 BAML report from Myria Kyriacou, Erjon Satko and Sebastien Cross projected.
The Fed’s increasingly hawkish tone will “attract close attention from markets,” the trio opined, as the stock market has been steadily rising thus far. Last year this time, it is worth noting, concern regarding the Fed withdrawing quantitative easing was cited as causation for the first ever predicted stock market flash crash in history.
If the markets are considering a rate hike, they don’t seem to be giving off this message at this point. That could change, however. In particular, Wednesday’s tea leaves regarding the July 26-27 FOMC meeting minutes might take precedent over Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, who speaks to the Rotary Club of Knoxville, TN August 16 or St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who speaks in St. Louis at a wealth conference one hour before the release of the Fed minutes Wednesday.
Watch for Brexit to start appearing in UK financial numbers
Other issues to keep an eye out for relate to the impact of Brexit as seen in financial numbers.
While the stock market has witnessed a significant bounce after the Brexit vote for Britain to leave the European Union, BAML is keeping a close eye on financial numbers so as to point to any and all signs of Brexit weakness being identified in the economy.
“We see the first post-Brexit ‘hard data this week, in the form of July CPI, retail sales and the July claimant count of the labour market report,” BAML wrote. “While it is too early to see much impact of the fall in GBP on inflation, and soft data so far suggests that consumers haven’t reacted as much as firms to the Brexit vote, the data will get increased attention.”
And their will be increasing scrutiny applied to Bank of England Quantitative Easing operations as these programs ramp-up, sounding a familiar tone.