Stagnating markets and rising interest rates are currently responsible for worry lines. Clear trend: no sign of it. While investors are groping in the dark, financial managers are facing new challenges with regard to municipal financing.
Global production and supply bottlenecks, the European energy shortage, and rising prices and inflation rates are among the factors causing uncertainty on the world market. While prices on the stock market are trending sideways, interest rates are rising due to inflation fears.
Rolf Biland, Chief Investment Officer of VZ VermögensZentrum, provides an insight and outlook on market developments.
Chief Investment Officer
How do you assess the current uncertainty on the markets?
Many investors have become accustomed to the comparatively steep upward trend of the stock markets over the months and the volatility level is also below the long-term averages – for these reasons, investors are reacting with increased uncertainty to the “more normal” investment environment that has prevailed since September.
The year 2021, like 2020, is an economic exception. The economy collapsed rapidly last year due to Covid-19, then recovered in a pendulum fashion and returned to strong growth. Despite the ongoing pandemic and its aftermath, growth in the developed world is expected to normalize further in a few months.
What are your expectations regarding market developments?
Provided there are no new crises and the central banks do not tighten their monetary policy reins sharply or unexpectedly, which I assume will be the case, this should not startle the markets either. As most companies in the industrialized countries have their costs under control and have increased the efficiency of their business models, I continue to expect a friendly trend on the financial markets – even if more fluctuations and phases of uncertainty are to be expected.
Rising interest rates: What does this mean for municipalities?
The general market uncertainty also has an impact on municipal financing. Compared with two months ago, it is clear that interest rates are currently rising slightly, as illustrated in the chart below.
Background knowledge explained: How is the yield curve composed and how can it be interpreted?
The yield curve is composed of the money market interest rate and the capital market interest rate. The money market interest rate (for terms of up to one year) is based on LIBOR, which will be replaced by SARON at the end of the year. From one year onwards, the capital market interest rate is used, which is based on the swap rate.
Short-term interest rates have hardly changed in recent months. Capital market interest rates, on the other hand, have risen significantly. As a result of the strong economic recovery, which is being additionally fueled by extensive government aid packages, fears of rising inflation are spreading around the world, leading to rising interest rates in the multi-year range.
Rolf Biland notes that the public sector was and still is strongly challenged by the pandemic – the tax burden will probably not decrease in the coming years due to the special expenses. Municipalities also have an additional burden, as they have to adapt to changing needs and behavior patterns of the population, such as mobility or home office.
Is there a reason to worry?
Loanboox co-founder Andi Burri also notes a certain uncertainty among municipalities, which is reflected in financing. But there is currently no cause for concern: Interest rates continue to be very attractive, and negative interest rates are possible for loans with terms of up to four years or even longer.
«Especially in times of uncertainty, thorough liquidity and financial planning continues to gain importance.»
Andi Burri, Co-Founder & Managing Director Switzerland of Loanboox
In addition, in combination with the consistency of the municipality’s financial situation, it is important to form one’s own opinion regarding the development of interest rates, as this allows a strategy to be developed and pursued. In view of the matching maturities and the continuing uncertainty in the capital market, balancing or long-term maturities in the loan portfolio will be increasingly in demand in the coming months, Burri suspects.
How we can support you
In addition to requesting and processing financing, Loanboox also provides support in the planning and monitoring phase. Loanboox debt planning service helps to set up a clean strategy, evaluate its advantages and disadvantages and simulate costs. The intuitive debt management tool simplifies the management of loans and allows detailed analysis of maturities.
Feel free to contact us if you would like us to support you.