What is the increase in US money supply telling us?

Bernanke is clear about why the Fed has embarked on “Operation Twist” – the Federal Reserve has both greatly increased its holdings of longer-term Treasury securities and broadened its portfolio to include agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities. Its goal in doing so was to provide additional monetary accommodation by putting downward pressure on longer-term Treasury and agency yields…

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French bonds following the path trampled by Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy

We’ve already discussed how EFSF doesn’t work as a private sector solution to the Eurozone debt crisis here, and have explained how the idea of turning the EFSF into a monoline insurer is ludicrous here.  EFSF bonds continue to perform poorly – the inaugural €5bn 5 year EFSF bond issued in January came with a yield spread of about 40 basis points over 5 year German government bonds, and is toda…

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Pickled Onion Monster Munch – without looking, how many monster feet do you get in a packet?

Earlier this month the Nobel Prize for Economics went to Sargent and Sims for their work on cause and effect in macro economic policy.  All good stuff of course, but it pains us that nobody is looking at the more micro-economic problems of the modern economy – in particular, WHAT KIND OF WORLD IS IT WHERE YOU ONLY GET EIGHT MONSTER MUNCH IN A PACKET?

We have discussed food price inflation in pr…

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Mummies’ boys – the number 1 variable for predicting Eurozone sovereign stress?!

I was reminded today of the tongue-in-cheek chart that we put on this blog a year ago showing the close correlation between sovereign 5 year CDS (i.e. the cost of insuring governments against default) and the percentage of men aged 25-34 who still live with their parents within the Eurozone founder member countries (credit to JP Morgan).  This was a prompt to do an update, and the outperformanc…

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So the authorities have seemingly realised the old EFSF plan doesn’t work. What about the new plan?

There has been a lot of press coverage about the proposal to turn the existing EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) into a monoline insurer of sovereign debt, where the new structure would be called the European Sovereign Insurance Mechanism (ESIM).

How is the ESIM supposed to work in theory?  No concrete details have been announced, but the basic thrust of the proposal is that the EFSF…

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Rating agencies adding to UK banks funding problems

We heard yesterday that Fitch has followed Moody’s lead and begun downgrading UK banks’ credit ratings. This reflects the reduced level of support offered by the government. Fitch only actually downgraded Lloyds and RBS – both to A – but Moody’s went further last week, downgrading a total of 12 banks and building societies. These new ratings have not entirely removed the implied tax payer suppo…

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The eurozone debt crisis explained

Yesterday, Stefan and Mike gave a teleconference discussing our views on the eurozone debt crisis. They cover some very interesting issues, such as the relationship between current account deficits and sovereign defaults/crises, the ECB’s ‘underwhelming’ response to the current crisis and the implications for the financial sector of the strong link between sovereigns and banks, as well as what …

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European High Yield – Crossing the Value Rubicon

As we’ve stated earlier this year, we think the European high yield market is presenting us with some very interesting opportunities. As of 6th October, one of the high yield indices that we track had an average yield to maturity of 12.0%. This equates to a risk premium above and beyond government bonds of around 10.4%, a level that we believe more than compensates investors for expected defaul…

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B(l)ank cheques

Rating agency Moody’s today downgraded a swathe of UK banks. The reasoning behind this was not the weakening of the economy, nor the fact that, according to Mervyn King, we are in possibly the worst financial crisis ever. It was due to the changing nature of the blank cheque that banks receive from their implicit support from the state.

The rating agencies have recognised that government policy…

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The M&G Inflation Conference

On Tuesday we hosted a conference to discuss the longer term outlook for inflation. Our guest speakers were Adam Fergusson, the author of the brilliant book “When Money Dies” about the Weimar Germany hyper-inflation, Andrew Sentance, the famously hawkish former MPC member, and Ken Mulkearn, the editor of the Income Data Services Pay Report. Our very own Ben Lord also gave an update on develop…

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