It’s been a big week for central banks, with both the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank each tinkering with monetary policy.
This represents a change in the winds for global markets, according to Wells Fargo’s Michael Schumacher.
“For many, many years, the central banks have really been a great tailwind for investors,” Schumacher, head of interest rate strategy at Wells Fargo, told CNBC’s “Futures Now” on Thursday.
“They’ve had these massive bond buying programs effectively supporting and encouraging people to go out and take more risk, to buy equities, to buy high-yield bonds, leveraged loans, whatever it might be,” he added.
That kind of easy money is disappearing from markets as global central banks turn the spigot on accommodative monetary policy, Schumacher said.
“You’ve got the ECB saying we’re going to stop buying bonds at the end of this year, the Fed’s been shrinking its portfolio,” he said. “Who is the support? Or, if you want to think about it in World Cup terms, who’s the goalie?”
In a widely expected decision on Wednesday, The Fed opted to raise rates for the second time this year. However, in a less unanimous decision, the central bank indicated another two increases this year.
Then, on Thursday, the ECB said it would likely wind down its massive bond-buying program by year’s end, putting an end to the stimulative policy which went into effect early 2015.
“It’s always nice to have a backstop or to have some protection when things go wrong,” said Schumacher. “We’re not saying the central banks are completely out of the picture but I think the hurdle for them to re-engage is much higher than its was 6 months ago to 12 months ago.”
One likely victim to rising rates is the housing market, says Schumacher.
“It puts stress on the mortgage market. Mortgage rates go up, people say you’re looking at a mortgage rate in that case of probably 4.75 percent, 4.80 percent, maybe 4.90 percent,” said Schumacher.
“Is it really appealing to go out and buy the house? Probably not so much,” he said. “I think the housing market potentially takes a hit so it can certainly ripple through the real economy.”
Schumacher anticipates a total four rate hikes from the Fed this year, bringing the fed funds rate to 2.25 to 2.5 percent. Markets are pricing in the next 25-basis-point increase as soon as September, according CME Group fed funds futures.