The global markets all come down to central banks.
At least that’s the argument of Michael Hartnett, the chief investment strategist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
In a note to clients on Thursday on what he called “the $1 trillion flow that conquers all,” Hartnett observed that the amount of financial assets added to central banks’ balance sheets was the “one flow that matters” in the market.
“$1 trillion of financial assets that central banks (European Central Banks & Bank of Japan) have bought year-to-date (= $3.6tn annualized = largest CB buying in past 10 years); ongoing Liquidity Supernova best explanation why global stocks & bonds both annualizing double-digit gains YTD despite Trump, Le Pen, China, macro,” Hartnett wrote.
Put another way, the $1 trillion in bonds and stocks bought this year by central banks like the ECB, the BOJ, and the Swiss National Bank puts purchases on pace for $3.6 trillion in buying this year, the most dating back to the start of the global financial crisis in 2007.
Hartnett argues this big increase in central-bank balance sheets has held down bond yields and supported stock prices. So, even with rising geopolitical uncertainty that one would think might put a dent in markets, there has been relative stability in Hartnett’s eyes.