In an era where the term austerity seems to have faded into the archives of economic history, the specter of sticky inflation is rising to the fore. We are witnessing a world where fiscal spending and global expenditure are increasing at an unprecedented rate, bringing us into a new economic phase that demands our attention.

As the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank (ECB) grapple with sticky inflation, interest rates are set to rise. Both institutions will need to continue their hikes, possibly even exceeding 6%, to keep inflation in check. With consumption and restaurants booming in the Eurozone, the UK stands in contrast, struggling with unique challenges of its own.

The real concern is that the swift, generous monetary policies in response to the current economic situation may set the stage for future crises. It’s only a matter of time. Short-term interest rates alone aren’t enough to create tighter financial conditions. Most old mortgages have locked in favorable rates. This environment may even facilitate a carry trade, with short-term interest rates higher than long-term ones, creating a “reverse yield curve.”

The key to navigating this shift lies in understanding Quantitative Tightening. Central banks are trying to “break the system” slowly with gradual rate hikes, avoiding the need for early market rescues. Unless things break down entirely, no immediate rate cuts are expected.

Fast forward to a future with a potential 5% interest rate in the next few years. This scenario would necessitate a major repricing of many financial assets, a shift that hasn’t occurred yet. Caution is warranted.

Now, if we imagine a trajectory where the 10-year yield heads towards 4-4.5%, we can foresee a surge in market volatility. This increase would impact various sectors, especially those heavily reliant on favorable interest rates for funding, REITs, and Tech companies. If the market refuses to revert to the mean, existing policies and business models will likely need an overhaul to survive.

Credit is another arena requiring keen scrutiny. While it’s been relatively stable, I predict an increase in default rates in the coming months. While I don’t foresee a double-digit rise, some pressure is undeniable. In such an environment, government bonds don’t offer a compelling spread, making them less attractive.

In terms of investment opportunities, certain areas within the credit sector show promise. For instance, defensive high-yield sectors in Europe could offer value, though one must act quickly as opportunities can be fleeting. Banks too present an intriguing prospect. However, I advocate for caution and recommend positioning against certain REITs and tech SPVs, which may struggle in this changing environment.

Preserving a healthy cash reserve is advisable. Treasury and high-grade financial bonds are potentially good choices, offering an added layer of protection against volatility. If we experience an increase in volatility, well-diversified portfolios are expected to fare better.

Our current global financial situation is shifting from a low-inflation environment to a persistently higher one. In such a landscape, private bonds may find support from governmental bodies. However, with soaring inflation, the freedom to cut interest rates as liberally as in the past is dwindling. It’s crucial not to overleverage, to stay invested, and to make sound, careful decisions in these challenging times.

In summary, while the market environment is undoubtedly tough, it’s filled with opportunities for those who can navigate the storm. This era demands prudence, adaptability, and a keen eye for shifting trends. Protecting against volatility and unfavorable valuations is key while uncovering potential growth areas. This changing tide may be challenging, but it is also a time for growth and evolution for savvy investors.


In light of these market conditions and potential risks, as an investment professional, I’d like to outline four primary strategies I would consider for a well-balanced portfolio. Each position is aimed to mitigate risks and capture potential opportunities in this changing economic landscape.

  1. Defensive High-Yield Sectors in Europe: There may be pockets of opportunities in these sectors. These are expected to provide yield in an uncertain environment.
  2. Government Bonds and High-Grade Financials for Protection: These are primarily seen as defensive measures against potential instability and volatility. They are not expected to provide significant returns but rather to offer safety and stability to the portfolio.
  3. Short Positions in REITs and Unstable Tech Business Models: There’s an expectation of an industry shake-up due to rising interest rates. Short positions in both real estate investment trusts (REITs) and tech businesses, particularly those with unsustainable models and questionable long-term free cash flow projections, could serve as a hedge against potential downturns in these sectors.
  4. Maintaining Cash Reserves: Cash reserves are critical for flexibility, enabling quick responses to market changes. They also provide a safety net in case of unforeseen market turbulence.


Remember, in this volatile environment, it’s key not to overextend positions. While there are potential opportunities, it’s crucial to have the means to stay invested without risking excessive exposure.


Originally published on Medium