After September 17th, for the first time in over nine years, it appeared the Fed might raise interest rates in America. Although monetary-policy hawks feared that the world’s largest economy was starting to overheat, low inflation and building financial stress in emerging markets were seen as reasons enough to hold off. New data on the state of emerging-markets economies released this week, along with recent disappointing jobs report from America, only strengthen this view.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics’ latest employment data shows that American firms added just 142,000 jobs last month, a far cry from the 200,000 that the markets had been expecting. Thanks to a sharp drop in labour-force participation the unemployment rate remained at 5.1%.
Europe’s recovery is accelerating but remains heavily dependent on exports to other economies while Asian economies appear to be slowing sharply with China revealing recently that factory output continued to contract in September for a second consecutive month. A separate survey showed that economic activity there had slipped to a six-and-a-half year low.
Earlier this week, the IMF’s Global Financial Stability Report warned that the massive increase in corporate indebtedness in these places since the launch of the Fed’s quantitative-easing programme in 2009 made their economies vulnerable to any increase in global interest rates.
Despite statements by Fed officials that an increase in 2015 is appropriate, markets are betting against a rate increase in October or December.