Divergent Monetary Policies in Q4 2016

We are seeing extremely divergent monetary policy from the most important central banks. The European Central Bank continues to maintain negative overnight rates, but is also buying everything in sight and is even driving non-government yields below zero. The Bank of Japan is also continuing an extremely loose monetary policy, but is beginning to re-examine the adverse effects of negative rates. The People’s Bank of China will likely have to ease too, in the face of credit problems and a very overvalued currency (at least we get a reprieve from the “the Chinese are manipulating and undervaluing their currency” sound bites during this Presidential election cycle!). The Bank of England is dealing with a lot of uncertainty following the Brexit vote, but has largely maintained a steady (and positive) interest rate policy for now. Likewise, the US Federal Reserve has maintained a positive policy rate and is even looking to raise the overnight rate once or twice before year-end. It is debatable whether domestic monetary policy has any efficacy at all at this point, but to have four of the five major central banks working in a opposite direction complicates things even more.