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Either longer dated index linked gilts are very vulnerable, or the UK economy is

If at the beginning of 2014 you had made a list of what you thought would be the best performing fixed income asset classes globally for the coming year, it’s very unlikely you’d have put UK index-linked gilts at the top. It’s probably even less likely that you’d have put Argentina’s (hard currency) bond market in second place, especially if you had been told that Argentina would default in 201…

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The Chinese corporate bond market – a video

I was in Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago to find out more about the Chinese corporate bond market. To start with it’s huge, and growing rapidly. But it comes with some well-known challenges – the large weighting towards property debt, the lack of information about issuers (ratings tend to be done only by the domestic ratings agency), and perhaps most worryingly the issue of structural subordina…

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Corporate bond spreads

EM corporate bonds: spreads are attractive compared to developed markets

Emerging market (“EM”) corporate bonds are a fast-growing segment of the fixed income market. The hard-currency (USD, EUR, GBP and CHF) EM bond market has doubled in size since 2010 and is now worth over $1.3 trillion – which makes it as big as the US high-yield market. Including local-currency bonds, the Bank of International Settlements estimated that the EM corporate bond market was worth ne…

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Mini Bonds – who is buying them?

One of the many unintended consequences of structurally low interest rates over the past few years has been the emergence of mini-bonds in the UK. These are typically non-tradable debt instruments issued by companies directly to individual investors*. We’ve commented before on one such bond issued by Chilango, a London based vendor of Mexican food, and highlighted some of the risks relative to …

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Ten reasons to like US high yield today

Global growth concerns, fears of a less accommodative Fed, and limited high yield market liquidity coupled with complacent and crowded investor positioning has served to reprice the US high yield market over the past few months. Following on from the worst quarterly performance in Q3 2014 for some three years, the US high yield market arguably now offers a significantly more attractive entry po…

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A tool for a rising rate environment: high yield floating rate notes

We are entering a new era for interest rates in the developed world. The extended period of ever looser monetary policy is starting to draw to a close. In the wake of the tapering of quantitative easing (QE) from the Federal Reserve (Fed), investors now expect to see the first interest rate hikes in many years, initially in the UK and shortly afterwards in the US. The principal focus of the deb…

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Corporates are the largest source of green bond issuance

Sprouting out: green bonds come of age

Green bonds are instruments in which proceeds are exclusively applied towards new and existing green projects – defined as activities that promote climate or other environmental sustainability purposes. They enable capital raising and investment in projects with environmental benefits. The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) set out some guidelines for issuing of green bonds in Janu…

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Burrito Bonds – an example of the retail bond market

One of our local burrito vendors has been advertising a new 8% bond to its customer base. The company, Chilango, wants to raise up to £3m to fund expansion of its chain in central London. This will be done via a crowd sourced retail offering that’s already drawn some interesting coverage in the financial press. Having performed some extensive due diligence on the company’s products as a team, w…

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Sell in May and go away – does it work for European fixed income?

As is usually the case on 1 May, there was a plethora of articles and commentary on the “sell in May and go away” effect. If you are unfamiliar with this highly sophisticated trading strategy, it involves closing out any equity exposure you may have on 30 April and re-investing on 1 November. Historically, U.S. equities have underperformed in the six-month period commencing May and ending in Oc…

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Tomlins’ guide for getting the best from High Yield in 2014

2013 was another decent year for returns in the high yield market. The US market returned 7.4%, with Europe a little way ahead at 10.3%. Bonds saw solid income returns, low default rates and a small capital gain as a tightening in credit spreads was enough to overcome weakness in the government bond markets. Once again this illustrated how high yield can be one of the few fixed income asset cla…

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