Everyone likes Fridays. This Friday is a little more special so I decided to post a non-Sunday blog for the first time. Why the deviation? Because Friday is the day we receive the most hours of sunlight in 24 hours …. and then its all downhill after that.
While that sounds a little gloomy phrased up that way, consider that its coming from someone who has been following and predicting the movements in the economy and wine business the past few years? Its been enough to make anyone gloomy especially since I’ve been right. (Editors note: Please don’t wake me and remind me of a forecast that was wrong. Thank you.)
Anyway, something happened yesterday that is making me put on economic sunglasses to protect my eyes: The Fed announced the economy is looking pretty darned good, inflation is in check, and unemployment is coming down to manageable levels. Add to that the US Credit Rating was raised back to AAA about 10 days ago and that is down right exciting right? What did the markets do? The Dow dropped 200+ points and the 10 year Treasury Bill rose 13 basis points. In fact the 10 year, which is the benchmark used for vineyard and acquisition financing has increased about 40 basis points since May. So what gives? If this is good news why is the market off and what does that mean for the wine business?
In conjunction with the other good news, the Fed announced they were going to pull the monetary sucker out of the Market’s mouth of the toddler-like economic recovery, and targeted an end to their Quantitative Easing program starting early in 2014 and ending mid-year. The market has been feasting on cheap money for a long time and the announcement and timing was just a little more firm than many suspected, putting a damper on the investors mood.
Along with the announcement, the US dollar strengthened because there is now a higher return realized from investing in US$. In addition, the dollar also gained strength because the announcement demonstrated the US is not like Japan and won’t be forever in a weak growth environment. A stronger dollar will mean we should see cheaper imports and that’s a risk in a business that is running at balance to short in grapes and juice.
Anyway, back on point this announcement signals rate increases will be coming. A 6% prime rate isn’t that unusual. What happens to your winery’s profitability if we see short term rates go up 3.00% in the next couple years at the same time consumers demand is growing and imports are cheaper?
What do you think about the Feds announcement? Please sign in and offer your thoughts.
SVB on Wine