'Potential bubbles' in financial markets already exist, warns Deutsche Bank CEO

Key Points
  • Deutsche Bank CEO warns of potential overheating in markets
  • Singles out riskier credit, particularly in the U.S., as a possible area of concern
John Cryan
Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Most asset classes in the Western world are potentially overbought meaning that potential bubbles exist in certain markets, Deutsche Bank boss John Cryan warned.

Pointing out that volatility today is "remarkably cheap", the chief executive officer (CEO) of Germany's largest lender noted that this is despite a flare-up or continuation of tensions in several parts of the globe in recent months and indicates a surprising sanguinity among traders.

So far this year, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index has soared over 18 percent while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes have each moved around 10 percent higher. U.S. bond yields at the 10-year and 30-year maturities have fallen during 2017 (meaning their prices have risen) while gold this week hit a twelve-month high.

"The interesting thing about the markets today is that obviously they pay some regard to these hotspots but they don't seem to be paying too much regard because we see very high asset prices in almost all asset categories," Cryan told an audience on Wednesday at Handelsblatt's annual banking summit in Frankfurt.

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), speaks to the media following a meeting of ECB leadership at the European Central Bank on January 10, 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Hannelore Foerster | Getty Images

Yet, certain markets now seem to be at particular risk of potentially overheating, according to the Deutsche Bank chief who assumed the top job (initially as co-CEO before becoming sole head) at the German lender in July 2015. Cryan has navigated the bank through a brutal two years of trying events such as restructuring, job cuts, legal settlements and hefty fines.

"If you look at the higher risk end of the market, I don't think you get the right reward for the risk you're taking right now," Cryan observed.

"So in some of the riskier credit markets – particularly in the U.S., not just in the U.S. though – I think I would be much more cautious about investing and I wouldn't blanket invest - I'd be much more diligent about picking the right security or the right loan to invest in," he added.

Turning to Thursday's impending European Central Bank (ECB) meeting, which is being closely watched for hints on a potential withdrawal of its extremely easy monetary policy, Cryan noted that the regional currency reflects the expectation of a "gradual" change in interest rates.

"I think that's being anticipated a little bit in the market," noted Cryan.

"So it's not a perfect storm but it's two factors coming together. One is more confidence in the economy, the other is more confidence that the currency itself, technically, might be worth a bit more," he concluded.