The market quake touched off by concerns about the debt situation at Chinese property developer Evergrande Group likely won’t be the last time that seemingly local events touch off global consequences, says Moody’s Investors Service.
In a new report, the rating agency said that investors will likely have to contend with recurring episodes of market volatility and uncertainty in the months ahead.
To start, last week’s news about Evergrande, which rattled both local and global financial markets, demonstrated how “financial events in one part of the world can reverberate and jolt credit conditions elsewhere through abrupt shifts of sentiment and liquidity,” Moody’s said.
In the case of Evergrande, its debt turmoil likely triggered concerns about growth in China, “which would have global implications,” it noted.
Coming amid ongoing concerns about inflation, the U.S. debt ceiling, and the trajectory of U.S. monetary policy, the news “triggered significant market volatility. And as investors reassessed their portfolio risks, major equity indices around the world tumbled,” the report said.
The Evergrande episode likely won’t be the last to roil markets in the months ahead, the rating agency suggested.
“We expect episodic volatility to recur in the coming quarters as concern about the sustainability of higher corporate and government debt burdens rises with the likelihood that monetary policy will gradually become neutral in 2022 after being accommodative this year,” it said.
At this point though, Moody’s doesn’t foresee these tremors disrupting the ongoing global recovery.
Instead it expects governments and central banks “will act to contain risks” and that their actions “will mitigate the damage to credit conditions from heightened risk aversion.”
However, it also warned that, as equities remain pricey due to low interest rates and a “larger-than-usual” equity risk premium, “the emergence of one or several downside risks could lead to a market correction.”
For now though, investors appear to be betting on a continued economic recovery, the report said, noting that U.S. Treasury yields remained stable in September, “rather than falling as would be likely amid acute concerns that the still-ongoing economic recovery was faltering.”
And the market reaction to signals that the Fed could start tapering asset purchases sooner rather than later “was viewed by investors [as] consistent with the strength of the economic recovery, and did not consider them overly hawkish.”
“Based on shared expectations of continued global recovery (though at varying speeds across countries) and policymakers’ likely actions to contain risks, we expect equity market volatility to be short-lived but more common in the coming year,” it said.