Market Pulse is a monthly blog series that aims to provide useful insights for savings and investments based on the tools that I reference every month.
1a. Inflation & PCE Index
Although the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is widely watched, the Federal Reserve preferred inflation gauge is the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index.
Even though both are price indexes, CPI (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) and PCE (Bureau of Economic Analysis) are calculated by different federal agencies using different formula, weightage and scope.
The core PCE index excludes energy and food prices and increased 4.2% in July 2023 from the year before.
- Core PCE Index (June 2023) → 4.2%
- Federal Reserve inflation target → 2.0%
The Fed uses the core PCE index as its 2% inflation target benchmark.
Analysts expect inflation to see a sharp drop once the lag in price trends for shelter (housing and rent) is accounted for.
1b. Interest Rate & Fed Rate Hike
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the monetary policy-making body of the Federal Reserve System, the central bank of the United States, and it holds eight regularly scheduled meetings during the year.
The next meeting is scheduled for September 19-20, 2023.
The committee is responsible for setting the target federal funds rate, which is the interest rate that banks charge each other for overnight loans. The federal funds rate is a key benchmark interest rate that affects many other interest rates in the economy, including mortgage rates and credit card rates.
The Federal Reserve uses rate hikes as a tool to lower inflation by making borrowing more expensive, which in turn reduces spending and slows down economic growth.
This makes it more costly for businesses and consumers to borrow money, which reduces demand for goods and services and can help to lower prices.
According to the CME FedWatch Tool, interest rate traders think that we will maintain the current interest rates until May 2024 before the target rate comes down. Alternatively, you can also use the Fed Rate Monitor Tool.
- Now until May 2024 → 5.25% to 5.50%
- June 2024 → 5.00% to 5.25%
Now now, it remains to be seen whether another interest rate hike is still on the table, but we are pretty close to the pivot assuming we aren’t already there.
Fed rate hikes from 2022 to 2023 can be seen in the table below.
|FOMC Meeting Date||Rate Change (bps)||Federal Funds Rate|
|Sep 19, 2023 (?)||—||5.25% to 5.50%|
|July 26, 2023||+25||5.25% to 5.50%|
|June 14, 2023||—||5.00% to 5.25%|
|May 3, 2023||+25||5.00% to 5.25%|
|March 22, 2023||+25||4.75% to 5.00%|
|Feb 1, 2023||+25||4.50% to 4.75%|
|Dec 14, 2022||+50||4.25% to 4.50%|
|Nov 2, 2022||+75||3.75% to 4.00%|
|Sept 21, 2022||+75||3.00% to 3.25%|
|July 27, 2022||+75||2.25% to 2.50%|
|June 16, 2022||+75||1.50% to 1.75%|
|May 5, 2022||+50||0.75% to 1.00%|
|March 17, 2022||+25||0.25% to 0.50%|
|Prior||—||0.00% to 0.25%|
The current high-interest rate environment will continue to be a blessing for savers as we continue to earn high returns effortlessly from low-risk instruments such as –
- Singapore Savings Bonds (3%)
- Savings accounts e.g. GXS (2.68%) / Trust Bank (2.5%)
- Cash funds e.g. Fullerton SGC Cash Fund (4%)
- Stablecoins e.g. Coinbase USDC (4.6%)
As global interest rates are poised to decline in 2024, liquidity would inevitably exit these instruments in search of higher yield and returns including –
- Fixed income e.g. Syfe Income+ / Endowus Income (5% to 6%)
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) e.g. Syfe REIT+ (6%)
1c. Singapore Savings Bonds Returns
The current issue of Singapore Savings Bonds gives the following returns which is higher than the previous issue.
- Average returns over 10 years = 3.16%
- Year 1 returns = 3.05%
- Year 10 returns = 3.48%
I Love SSB is currently projecting the following returns for the next issue of Singapore Savings Bonds if you considering whether to apply for the current issue or wait for the next issue.
If you ask me, I think 3.0% returns p.a. guaranteed for 10 years is a really fantastic deal to lock-in for the long term.
1d. Singapore REITs Index
The iEdge S-REIT Leaders Index (SGD) maintains its downtrend.
- iEdge S-REIT Leaders Index → 1,119
- Pandemic low → 975 (March 2020)
- Pre-Pandemic high → 1,542 (February 2020)
As mentioned in REITs Watch September 2023, triple factors that REITs are struggling against right now –
- Higher finance (borrowing) costs
- Higher property expenses (cost pressure e.g. energy prices)
- Foreign exchange weakness (strong SGD)
Interestingly, even as REITs are looking the ugliest and seemingly least attractive right now, the search hits on my blog for REITs content e.g. Syfe REIT+ and Lendlease REIT have been the highest in recent months.
1e. Greed & Fear Index (Equities)
Fear & Greed Index → 52 / 100
The Fear & Greed Index is a way to gauge stock market movements and whether stocks are fairly priced.
The theory is based on the logic that excessive fear drives down share prices, and too much greed tends to have the opposite effect.
The Fear & Greed Index is a compilation of seven indicators that measure some aspects of stock market behaviour – market momentum, stock price strength, stock price breadth, put and call options, junk bond demand, market volatility, and haven demand.
The index tracks how much these individual indicators deviate from their averages compared to how much they usually diverge, and gives each indicator equal weighting in calculating a score from 0 to 100, with 100 representing maximum greediness and 0 indicating maximum fear.
Staying on top of the latest market trends and developments is crucial for making informed financial decisions.
Hopefully, this summary will be helpful for you just like it has been insightful for me.
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Kevin started Turtle Investor when his net worth languished at negative $25,755. His desire to turn things around led him to build passive income from investments and side hustles that pay for all his daily expenses and overseas vacations. You can learn more about Kevin here.