By SARA SJOLIN at Marketwatch
If it feels like you’re reliving the market jitters of the Great Recession and eurozone crisis, it’s probably because you are.
During this week, global risk appetite dropped to “panic” levels for the first time since January 2012, according to Credit Suisse’s Global Risk Appetite Index. That was back when investors feared a breakup of the euro bloc, grappled with unsustainably high sovereign borrowing costs and freaking out about the spillover from Greece.
Before that, the index reached panic state around the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., during the dotcom bubble and after Black Monday in 1987. Get the picture?
This time, Credit Suisse’s Global Risk Appetite Index slipped into panic territory just as global equity markets were wrapping up their worst quarter in four years. That came as investors feared a sharp slowdown in China’s economy and a collapse in commodity prices.
“Global growth is not a strong supportive factor for risky assets right now,” said the analyst team led by the bank’s chief economist, James Sweeney.
“Weak Chinese growth has had very negative effects on general emerging market performance and commodity prices. And a strong dollar has caused many exporters around the world to see declining trade revenues, even if actual activity has not fallen off a cliff,” they added.
Indeed, the U.S. economy may not even have grown 1% in the third quarter, according to the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tracker.
But here’s for the good news: panic equals buying opportunities. The Credit Suisse analysts said panic usually is an overreaction to short-term events, providing a chance to buy risky assets at a cheaper price.
There’s a caveat for the current panic state, however. Because of the murky global growth outlook, investors should only use this as a short-term opportunity, rather than going in for the long haul, the analysts said.
“If panic persists, it could alter the global growth outlook for the worse. Ongoing panic and weak global growth would likely influence Fed behavior. But history suggests rebounds often occur when they are least expected,” they said.
“That’s why we see the current panic as a tactical opportunity, even if it does not point to a lasting boom in risky assets.”