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
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
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
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
Global bond markets rallied after the US Federal Reserve (Fed) signalled on Wednesday what financial markets had been pricing in for months: the central bank will most likely retract from its rate hiking plans this year, given the global economic slowdown, lower oil prices and generally muted domestic inflation. The Fed also indicated its balance sheet may not shrink as much as expected as it n…Read the article
As we all know, 2018 turned out to be a tough year for most asset classes, not least High Yield (HY) bonds. The sell-off in the fourth quarter was particularly quick and brutal compared to the recent lulls of benign volatility under the blanket of central bank largesse. Global HY lost a few percentage points in pure local currency terms in 2018, whilst the lower beta and more senior secured hea…Read the article
Not that we needed anybody’s reassurance, but the UK government’s decision that pension fund trustees must consider financially material ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors in their assessments, definitely helps those who believe that sustainability is becoming a need more than a choice – for society and investors alike.
In my view, an ESG lens can help monitor qualitative risks …Read the article
Few investors would have bet on emerging market (“EM”) corporate bonds fifteen years ago. In 2004 the EM external (also known as hard-currency) corporate bond universe was relatively small at approximately US$ 270bn. By 2009 the asset class had more than doubled to US$ 600bn driven by strong economic expansion across developing economies notably the BRIC countries. Since the global financial cr…Read the article
When the presidents of the US, France and Britain cancel their trip to the World Economic Forum at Davos – the mecca of globalisation over the past two decades – to face domestic challenges, no wonder investors are worried about falling global trade, inward-looking policies and hence, lower global growth. This week’s data seems to vindicate such fears: US-China trade tensions escalated on specu…Read the article
After a lengthy review, Britain’s House of Lords has finally said that the inflation index presently used to price inflation-linked securities, train fares or student loans should be replaced. Instead, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) should become the new benchmark, as it includes more items and has an overall higher credibility. So far, so good – except if you are an investor.
The statistics b…Read the article