China… Argentina… Emerging market currencies panicking over tapering… Overvalued stock markets “overdue for a correction…” There are plenty of culprits for the big, surprising moves seen in global markets over the past two days. But picking out any one of these factors would be to overlook what is probably the most important motivation: tradeflows.
The end of 2013 was skewed in favor of risk, stocks, etc. It was a pretty unhappy time for bond markets, remember? 2014 has seen two instances now of that pressure being equalized–first after NFP, and the second at the end of this week. The rush to assign blame simply fans a fire that may well have already been burning.
There was a chance that the pressure was equalized as 10yr yields ground into the 2.82 level. After all, one of the poster-children for this “risk-off” move–the stock market–closed within striking distance of all time highs on Wednesday afternoon, with no hint of the roller-coaster ahead.
The whole herd has quite simply moved in unison since then. Most market participants expected things to get increasingly calm into next week, and most market participants were wrong. When that happens, it adds not only to the pace of the ensuing move, but also to the determination to find and assign blame.
The time to understand this wave will come as soon as the time to ride it has clearly come to an end.