While hardly groundbreaking at a time when futures markets are pricing in almost 3 rate cuts by the end of 2019 (and some traders are already pricing in the subsequent rate hikes in late 2020 and early 2021), today legendary trader Paul Tudor Jones said that “we’re probably on the cusp of the first rate cut after a long hiking cycle,” speaking in an interview ahead of an event Wednesday in New York sponsored by his non-profit organization JUST Capital.
And, predicting the by now well-ingrained Pavlovian response of the market, PTJ recommended the “standard playbook” of trades – long rates, short dollar, long stocks (at least initially, a la BofA’s Michael Hartnett): “at some point short the dollar and at some point long stocks, at least initially,” the hedge fund manager said.
Jones, like most others, were surprised by recent events, admitting that “I didn’t think we’d have a first cut in 2019. I don’t think we would have had that had we not gotten into this tariff battle, and so it has accelerated everything.”
The catalyst for the surprise was, of course, Trump’s renewed trade war (for an extended discussion of what triggers prompt Trump to escalate and de-escalate trade war, see this post), with Jones stating that “the tariffs are a very material event,” adding that “We haven’t had any experience in modern times with them. So you have to re-adjust the entire outlook.”
The tariffs sped up where “the Fed would have ultimately gone and fast-forward the possibility — and I double underscore possibility — that we’re going to get a more protracted global slowdown,” Jones said.
And unlike many of his peers, PTJ was humble in his predictions of the future: “I don’t know what the long-run consequences will be,” he added. “The consequences will be slower-moving than many people anticipate.”
What was more interesting, besides his bland reco of all dovish trades that have worked in the past during an easing cycle, was his discussion of what he views as best trade over the next year to two years: gold.
“The best trade is going to be gold. If I have to pick my favorite for the next 12-24 months it probably would be gold. I think gold goes beyond $1,400… it goes to $1,700 rather quickly. It has everything going for it in a world where rates are conceivably going to zero in the United States.”
“Remember we’ve had 75 years of expanding globalization and trade, and we built the machine around the believe that’s the way the world’s going to be. Now all of a sudden it’s stopped, and we are reversing that. When you break something like that, the consequences won’t be seen at first, it might be seen one year, two years, three years later. That would make one think that it’s possible that we go into a recession. That would make one think that rates in the US go back toward the zero bound and in the course of that situation, gold is going to scream. “
Watch the full interview below.