Global Growth Optimism Hits Record Lows, Stagflation Fears Rise: Bank of America Survey

April 12, 2022 in News by RBN Staff

source:  theepochtimes


By Naveen Athrappully
April 12, 2022 Updated: April 12, 2022

Optimism about the world’s economic growth among fund managers has hit an all-time low amid concerns of potential stagflation, according to the April edition of a monthly survey by the Bank of America (BofA).

When questioned about global growth expectations, 71 percent of fund managers expressed pessimism, the highest percentage since the survey began in the 90s, according to Reuters. Expectations regarding stagflation—persistent high inflation combined with high unemployment and stagnant demand—jumped to its highest level since August 2008.

While the war in Ukraine was the top concern in the March survey, participants in the recent edition cited a global recession as the biggest potential risk for investors. The bearish view of managers triggered BofA’s buy signal on equities.

However, the bank’s strategists did not agree with the buy signal, insisting they remain in “sell-the-rally” camp. The stock market decline earlier this year was apparently only an “appetizer,” while the “main course” for 2022 is still to come. “The disconnect between global growth and equity allocation remains staggering,” BofA strategists said in a note.

Investors are very long on materials, energy, cash, healthcare, and commodities. The biggest risk to the stability of financial markets was deemed to be geopolitics, with monetary risk and business cycle risk at the second and third spots.

Regarding the United States, 64 percent of fund managers expect the S&P 500 to only rise above the 5,000 level after breaking below 4,000 first. They also expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates seven times in 2022, up from four times from the March survey. A majority predict inflation to soften over the next 12 months.

In terms of stock investment, the respondents are bullish on U.S. stocks and bearish on UK and European equities. The survey took into consideration the opinions of 292 fund managers with a combined $833 billion worth of assets under management.

Respondents in the European edition of the survey cut down growth expectations for the region from 69 percent in the March survey to 81 percent.

Even though managers admitted to concerns about a recession on the continent, most of the respondents expect stocks to hit new highs. The UK remained the favorite equity market in Europe while Italy and Germany were the least preferred.

Earlier, Fitch Ratings had cut down the global growth forecast for 2022 in a March report citing big global supply shocks that would drive up inflation. Growth expectations for the world were reduced by 0.7 percentage points to 3.5 percent, for the Eurozone region by 1.5 percentage points to 3 percent, and for the United States by 0.2 percentage points to 3.5 percent.