ROBECO - Mon, 01/09/2023 - 17:08

Central bank watcher: Shifting gears

The past year has been a remarkable one for monetary policy. More interesting policy moves are likely in 2023.

Speed read

  • Fed slowing down hiking pace with terminal rate now in sight
  • ECB set to take policy rates into restrictive territory
  • Disruption from Covid wave keeps PBoC in targeted easing stance for now

While 2022 was a remarkable year for monetary policy setting, 2023 will likely have more interesting moves in store. A key central bank that has recently shifted gears is the BoJ. And if Japanese wage growth follows the pattern seen elsewhere in the world, 2023 might well move the BoJ to further tightening steps that could have ramifications for bond markets worldwide.

Meanwhile, the Fed and the ECB – which is intent on joining the QT camp soon – have recently slowed down the pace of their tightening cycles, and look on track to reach policy rate peaks in early spring (the Fed) or late spring (the ECB). Looking beyond the next few quarters, we do think that these central banks might struggle to keep monetary policy significantly restrictive for long amid weak(ening) growth and easing inflation pressures.

Another likely development worth noting is the continued disconnect between the PBoC and all other major central banks in the coming months. While others are starting, continuing, or slowing their tightening cycles, the PBoC retains an easing bias. These differences in timing and pace should set the stage for interesting cross-market and curve positioning opportunities in the year ahead.

Figure 1 | Outlook for central bank policy rates

Source: Bloomberg, Robeco, change 12m ahead, based on money market futures and forwards; 6 January 2023

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