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BVTV: 2018 – the year of the bond bear market?

After such a good run for credit spreads in 2017, and a more challenging start to the New Year for government bonds in particular, are we right to be more cautious about prospects for markets in 2018? Fund manager Wolfgang Bauer joins me to discuss what’s behind the recent sell-off in bunds and Treasuries, and what we can read into primary market activity so far in January. 

Plus, will the ECB…

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Did the ECB get their fingers burned with Steinhoff bonds?

Credit risk is real. It’s easy to forget this platitude in times when both investment grade and high yield credit markets go from strength to strength. Even one of Europe’s foremost credit investors – the European Central Bank (ECB) – has recently been reminded that there is indeed the risk of permanent loss of capital when buying corporate bonds.

Every week the ECB updates the consolidated lis…

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2017 High Yield Review – Another Solid Year

Good performance after an exceptional 2016

2017 was another good year for high yield investors with the global high yield index delivering a total return of 8.0% (in USD terms), albeit this was less exciting than the 16% achieved in 2016. The US continued to outperform Europe but at a far more modest rate compared to 2016, with a 7.5% local currency total return vs Europe’s 6.7%, although much …

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Trump’s US tax Christmas present: glittering gifts for Investment Grade telecom companies, but only lumps of coal for High Yield

On 22nd December last year, President Trump enacted probably the most significant achievement to date of his presidency by signing the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017.  The precise implications of tax law changes can be fiendishly complicated and difficult to assess due to the numbing complexity of the legislation and individual companies’ tax planning arrangements.  However, in broad strokes, I be…

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Emerging markets debt: 2017 post-mortem and 2018 outlook

Emerging markets debt posted strong returns in 2017, driven by the stabilisation of fundamentals, ongoing global and EM economic recovery, a small rebound in commodity prices and a geopolitical environment in which the usual suspects (Trump, North Korea, China) have behaved in a more benign fashion thus far. One had to struggle to find an asset that produced negative returns and the only two th…

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M&G Bond Vigilantes Christmas Quiz 2017 – the answers and the new champion

Happy New Year to you all.  Thank you for another bumper crop of entries for our Christmas quiz.  This year’s winner and new reigning champion is Adam Begg of UBS Investment Bank.  Many congratulations.  As you know, this year we donated £500 to Cancer Research UK in lieu of a trophy.  Via CASCAID, the fund management community in the UK this year decided to try to raise £1 million for Cancer R…

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2017 investment grade review – a rising tide lifts all boats

Let’s be honest, 2017 won’t go down in history as the most exciting year for investment grade (IG) credit markets. IG credit spreads have moved more or less in one direction only: lower and lower. Still, there are valuable lessons to be learnt. Here are our key takeaways.

Positive mood swing in Europe drove EUR IG outperformance vs USD IG.

Back in early 2017 the logic was as follows: After the…

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Cross currency basis – what is it? And what are the implications?

Towards the end of this year, a December spike in the cross currency basis for major currencies against the dollar grabbed the market’s attention. But what is cross currency basis (“the basis”)?

Consider a European company taking a one year loan from its domestic local bank to fund its US operations abroad. In order to hedge the currency risk, the company enters into a one year EUR/USD currenc…

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Floating rate versus fixed rate high yield bonds. What are the breakeven scenarios for the next 12 months?

Short term US dollar interest rates continue their march higher. 3-Month USD LIBOR recently hit 1.61%, fuelled by the Fed’s 25 basis point hike on December 13th, a level last seen in late 2008. With further rate hikes on the horizon in the US and a potentially more hawkish European Central Bank, is 2018 the year when floating rate high yield meaningfully outperforms its fixed rate cousin?

The s…

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