Latest Post

The changing nature of market liquidity – understanding banks’ corporate bond inventory

When looking at the risk premium embedded in the extra return you receive in owning corporate debt versus “risk free” governments, one of the factors that we have to take into account is the less liquid nature of corporate bonds. This adds to the potential risk premium from a liquidity and transaction cost perspective. A constant theme since the financial crisis has been the belief that the cra…

Read the article

Eskom, Pemex: two distinct stories but a similar root of problem

Fully government-owned corporate bond issuers (or quasi sovereigns) are one of the most interesting areas of emerging market debt investing, due to the hybrid nature of their credit risk: partly corporate credit, partly sovereign risk. Venezuela’s national oil company PDVSA is an example of what can go wrong, as it is in default. Bond investors are therefore currently spending more time looking…

Read the article

Despite Brexit, Sterling credit holds up with a surprise front runner

With Brexit in every headline, it’s hard not to form an opinion on the possible outcome for the UK. Investors are getting increasingly edgy about the impact on certain asset classes, and I have read many articles predicting which sectors will do well in various exit scenarios. Sterling credit has remained healthy since the referendum, led by robust fundamentals and not by politics as the pound …

Read the article

Should investors care about GDP data revisions in emerging markets? A Benin case study

Statistical data represents only an approximation of reality, and sometimes not a very good one. Generally, the less economically developed a country is, the worse the quality of the data provided by the government authorities. This increases the likelihood of later revisions, as new facts are uncovered or the methodology adjusted to better reflect the changing reality. Investors in emerging ma…

Read the article

Bond indices are shifting their attention to China – so should you

It is widely recognized that China is globally well-integrated from a trade perspective (it accounted for 13% of total world exports in 2017 according to the WTO). Yet in comparison, its financial markets remain in relative isolation. Indeed, despite having the 2nd largest equity and 3rd largest bond markets in the world (currently around $13 trillion), foreign participation in these markets re…

Read the article

Could ‘Green Bunds’ be a cure for Europe’s economic malaise?

Compared to one and a half years ago, when the prevailing narrative was still revolving around global synchronised growth, the economic outlook for Europe has darkened significantly. From ‘peak optimism’ levels in late 2017, Euro area real GDP growth has slowed to 1.2%, while Eurozone manufacturing PMI has dropped by more than ten points. Even the notoriously optimistic ECB eventually had to co…

Read the article

Diverging fortunes of inflation expectations in the US and Europe

Inflation expectations in the US and Europe have been diverging lately and it comes as no real surprise, of course. After all, annual GDP growth in the US was running at a healthy rate of 2.6% in real terms in Q4 2018. The unemployment rate has fallen below 4%, putting upward pressure on wages, while economic sentiment indicators, such as PMIs, are in firmly expansionary territory. In stark con…

Read the article

European credit: divergence between the bond and credit derivatives markets

There is a general belief in markets that the economic cycle follows the US – and therefore that you can’t have a recession in a developed market without a US recession first.  Yes, the US economy is the biggest out there, and with general market sentiment being that we are late cycle it is understandable that everyone’s focus is on the US data and its flattening yield curve.

But what has reall…

Read the article

The Royal Commission into Misconduct: A Deceptive Smokescreen for Australian Bank Bond Investors?

Last week’s conclusion of the Royal Commission into misconduct in Australia’s financial services sector has rightfully made international headlines. After digesting the 1011-page report, investors breathed a sigh of relief and pushed Australian bank shares sharply higher. The Commission’s findings and recommendations have been well-documented in the popular press (here), and the debates around …

Read the article

Bankers & Bolsheviks: International Finance and the Russian Revolution by Hassan Malik. Our interview with the author; and win a copy of his book.

In the years leading up to World War 1, and then the Russian Revolution in 1917, Russia had become the world’s largest net international debtor.  It was borrowing heavily to finance industrialisation (railroads, oil, iron and cotton production) and as its population grew it saw rapid economic growth.  WW1, and the earlier 1905 conflict with Japan had also resulted in rising debt.  At the same t…

Read the article