Swap spreads (see a short primer on the subject here) are excellent coincident and leading indicators of financial market and economic health, as well as direct indicators of systemic risk. Swap spreads are now very low and declining in most developed countries. This bodes well for growth in the coming year.
The first of the above charts shows 2-yr swap spreads for the U.S. and the Eurozone. U.S. swap spreads are now about as low as they have ever been, and Eurozone 2-yr swap spreads are at a new post-recession low. The second of the above charts shows 2-yr swap spreads in Japan, which have also fallen to close to their lowest levels ever.
Very low swap spreads are indicative of financial markets that enjoy abundant liquidity conditions thanks to Quantitative Easing measures by the world's major central banks. The global banking system hasn't been this healthy for a long time. With banks on a solid footing and with a virtually unlimited ability to lend (thanks to abundant excess reserves), the only thing standing between today's modest economic growth rates and much faster real growth in the future is more confidence and new incentives to take on risk (e.g., lower tax rates on income and capital that boost the after-tax reward to work and investment).
Meanwhile, the virtual absence of systemic risk makes holding cash—which pays almost nothing— quite unattractive, especially when compared to the much higher yields available on alternative investments.
UPDATE: As the above chart shows, corporate credit spreads are now at post-recession lows. This helps confirm the message of swaps, namely that systemic risk is quite low these days. However, I would note that credit spreads have been quite a bit lower in the past. That suggests that corporate bonds—particularly those with lower credit quality ratings—continue to be attractive relative to Treasuries.