The risk of a policy misstep has increased. Central bankers will have to strike a delicate balance between controlling inflation expectations and supporting full employment as they withdraw exceptionally accommodative policies. In the United States, the Federal Reserve may have to raise rates higher than some expect, perhaps to at least 2.5%.
Rising rates won’t upend bond markets. Rising inflation and policy normalization mean that the short-term interest rates targeted by the Fed, the European Central Bank, and other developed-market policymakers are likely to rise. But rising rates are unlikely to produce negative long-term total returns in bond markets. We expect annualized U.S. bond returns of 1.4%–2.4% over the next decade.
Equities face a challenging environment. Low bond yields, reduced policy support, and stretched valuations in some markets form a challenging backdrop for equities. We are projecting the lowest 10-year annualized returns for global equities since the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s. For example, we expect U.S. equity returns of 2.3%–4.3% per year.