23. September 2019
Jim Reid, Global Head of Thematic Research & Credit Research, Deutsche Bank Research has just published his annual Long-Term Asset Return Study. This year's focus is on the History and Future of Debt. The report also have all the usual long-term returns data for dozens of countries across different asset classes tracked back over more than a century for many series. [mehr]
PROD0000000000500445 1   |    September 23, 2019Thematic Research This is an excerpt of Long-Term Asset Return Study: The History and Future of Debt , published on September 23, 2019. September 23, 2019 The History and Future of Debt Jim Reid, Global Head of Thematic Research & Credit Research, Deutsche Bank Research has just published his annual Long-Term Asset Return Study. This year's focus is on the History and Future of Debt. The report also have all the usual long-term returns data for dozens of countries across different asset classes tracked back over more than a century for many series. Common wisdom suggests that the prudent upper threshold for government debt/GDP is in the range of 70-90% for high-income countries, 50-70% for euro area countries and 30-50% for the EM complex. Evidence has suggested that growth slows past these thresholds and thus risks creating an unsustainable and negative debt/GDP cycle. Today many countries are above these levels, with the globe seeing the highest peacetime debt in history, and yet until recently hardly a week went by without fresh record lows in bond yields. The other unusual part of this cycle is that although aggregate government debt/GDP has soared since the GFC, if you assume that the post-GFC accumulated central bank holdings never get repaid, then most governments have actually de-levered over the last decade. Do we have to rethink our view on debt sustainability or is this a big bubble? Much depends on the future interaction between governments and central banks. In a world of stubbornly low growth and low inflation, and with populist governments increasingly looking at reversing prior fiscal consolidation/ austerity, eventually the temptation to use negative/ultra-low rates to borrow to spend will prove too tempting. Indeed, at current yields, Germany could move from a surplus of c1.5-2% to a deficit of roughly the same magnitude and still keep debt/GDP constant over the next several years. This won't be easy in reality, and it's worth remembering that the German word for debt is "Schuld", the same as the word for guilt. The multi-trillion dollar question is whether governments can successfully and consistently issue the holy grail of funding – zero-coupon perpetual bonds. If they can do that, spend the money, and central banks buy the bonds, then that is pure helicopter money. We're actually not a million miles away from this. It feels like central banks have given governments the keys to the helicopter in helping yields fall to current levels, but governments have yet to fully embrace the spending power that this may offer them. It may take the next recession to encourage the move. Authors www.dbresearch.com Jim Reid +44(20)754-72943 jim.reid@db.com Quinn Brody +1(212)250-0275 quinn.brody@db.com Henry Allen Craig Nicol +44(20)754-57601 craig.nicol@db.com Nick Burns +44(20)754-71970 nick.burns@db.com Deutsche Bank Research The History and Future of Debt 2   |    September 23, 2019Thematic Research © Copyright 2019. Deutsche Bank AG, Deutsche Bank Research, 60262 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. All rights reserved. When quoting please cite “Deutsche Bank Research”. The above information does not constitute the provision of investment, legal or tax advice. Any views expressed reflect the current views of the author, which do not necessarily correspond to the opinions of Deutsche Bank AG or its affiliates. Opinions expressed may change without notice. Opinions expressed may differ from views set out in other documents, including research, published by Deutsche Bank. The above information is provided for informational purposes only and without any obligation, whether contractual or otherwise. No warranty or representation is made as to the correctness, completeness and accuracy of the information given or the assessments made. In Germany this information is approved and/or communicated by Deutsche Bank AG Frankfurt, licensed to carry on banking business and to provide financial services under the supervision of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). In the United Kingdom this information is approved and/or communicated by Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch, a member of the London Stock Exchange, authorized by UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and subject to limited regulation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) (under number 150018) and by the PRA. This information is distributed in Hong Kong by Deutsche Bank AG, Hong Kong Branch, in Korea by Deutsche Securities Korea Co. and in Singapore by Deutsche Bank AG, Singapore Branch. In Japan this information is approved and/or distributed by Deutsche Securities Inc. In Australia, retail clients should obtain a copy of a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to any financial product referred to in this report and consider the PDS before making any decision about whether to acquire the product. Ironically, the biggest risk to a plan to borrow at low/negative rates to facilitate fiscal spending might be that it is actually successful. If inflation is generated (as it should be with such policies), then the bonds that are still 'free float' may be much more vulnerable than they are today, when markets don't believe inflation is possible and total returns are still being made by buying negative-yielding bonds. At this point, if such polices are to be maintained, we may need even more central bank buying of government bonds to keep yields down. The key to a sustainable debt environment over the next decade(s) will be about keeping nominal yields well below nominal GDP. As such, financial repression and aggressive central bank purchases might still be in the early stages. The big difference – relative to the last decade – will likely be that governments start spending the "free" money that central banks have served up. Infrastructure (tech led) and green investment may give even the most prudent of countries the political cover to spend. So higher debt, higher inflation, higher nominal GDP, higher yields, and higher central bank balance sheets. To read the full report click here . If you don’t have access please contact a Deutsche Bank Sales representative.   For important disclosure information please see: https://research.db.com/ Research/Disclosures/Disclaimer  
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