At Davos, Inequality and Africa in Focus

As world leaders gather in Davos, inequality and Africa take center stage.

January 22, 2014   |    By Scott Minerd, Global CIO

Global CIO Commentary by Scott Minerd

As the 2014 World Economic Forum gathers this week in Davos, the focus of discussions has shifted significantly from last year. Then, the dialogue was almost exclusively around the developing consensus that the global financial crisis was finally ending. Financial assets were again safe for widows and orphans and financial market returns for 2013 proved the consensus correct.

Now, the focus has shifted to two new topics: growing income inequality as a risk to economic growth and social stability and the emergence of Africa as an economic force. Neither of these is a big surprise as neither is new. But the fact that these are the primary focus this year tells us that these topics will likely become more prominent in 2014.

The issue of income inequality will likely be prominent in U.S. Congressional mid-term elections in November. Republican Paul Ryan has already been criticizing the failure of Obama administration policies, saying the manner in which it tackled the 2008 financial crisis exacerbated the problem. Republicans and Democrats will both make the issue central as they seek to win over swing voters. Strap in! The debate on inequality will likely shape economic policy and the structural forces that will determine long-term economic growth and investment returns.

As for Africa, the cat is out of the bag that the opportunity there is huge. Sub-Saharan African nations are working together and making significant political and structural progress which will allow rapid economic growth in the coming decades. My meetings here with leaders from Rwanda and with a delegation from Nigeria on Monday in London remind me of experiences I had on my first trip to China in 1988. It is no longer prudent for investors to ignore Africa. It is becoming the greatest growth opportunity in the world. The good news is that if you invest now you are early!

Rising Capacity Utilization Suggests More U.S. Corporate CapEx Spending

Historically, a meaningful increase in capacity utilization is followed by acceleration in capital expenditure (CapEx). As the U.S. industrial capacity utilization rate in December increased to the highest level since June 2008, we should expect CapEx, measured by the U.S. private non-residential investments, to grow strongly in the next few quarters, adding further momentum to the U.S. economic expansion.



Source: Haver, Guggenheim Investments. Data of 12/31/2013 for capacity utilization and as of 9/30/2013 for real private non-residential investment.

Economic Data Releases

Industrial Output Continues Gains While Housing Market Cools

German Investor Confidence Falters, Chinese Growth Edges Down

Important Notices and Disclosures

This article is distributed for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investing advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. This article contains opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Guggenheim Partners or its subsidiaries. The author’s opinions are subject to change without notice. Forward looking statements, estimates, and certain information contained herein are based upon proprietary and non-proprietary research and other sources. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but are not assured as to accuracy. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of Guggenheim Partners, LLC. ©2014, Guggenheim Partners. Past performance is not indicative of future results. There is neither representation nor warranty as to the current accuracy of, nor liability for, decisions based on such information.


Fixed-Income Outlook: Walking the Risk Tightrope - Featured Perspectives
February 21, 2018

Fixed-Income Outlook: Walking the Risk Tightrope

Current conditions could persist for some time, but with a possible recession approximately two years away, the time for caution is approaching.

The Market Is Finally Getting the Joke - Featured Perspectives
February 20, 2018

The Market Is Finally Getting the Joke

Investors are coming to terms with the idea that the Fed will keep raising rates because of inflation and economic pressures.

Davos as Contra-Indicator - Featured Perspectives
January 23, 2018

Davos as Contra-Indicator

Euphoria at Davos may be a sign that the market melt up may soon begin to cool.


Forecating the Next Recession 

Forecating the Next Recession

Global CIO Scott Minerd and Head of Macroeconomic and Investment Research Brian Smedley provide context and commentary to complement our recent publication, “Forecasting the Next Recession.”

Macro Themes to Watch in 2018 

Macro Themes to Watch in 2018

In his market outlook, Global CIO Scott Minerd discusses the challenges of managing in a market melt up and highlights several charts from his recent piece, “10 Macro Themes to Watch in 2018.”

© 2018 Guggenheim Partners, LLC. All rights reserved. Guggenheim, Guggenheim Partners and Innovative Solutions. Enduring Values. are registered trademarks of Guggenheim Capital, LLC.