Bond Vigilantes Weekly: 2016 all over again?

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…

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High Yield in 2019 – floating or fixed?

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…

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High Yield managers need to up their ESG game: 4 recommendations

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 …

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The Rise of Emerging Market Corporate Bonds

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…

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Bond Vigilantes Weekly: Globalisation-mecca Davos loses shine as trade wanes

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…

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The war of the indices: which inflation measure to use?

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…

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Panoramic Weekly: The ayes to the left, the noes to the right: the pound has it

Although world markets depend more on Fedspeak and China than on British politics, when the UK House speaker announced (in traditional centuries-old fashion) that the “noes” opposing the government’s Brexit plan had won – inadvertently, he helped reduce sugar levels in Europe. Investors’ interpretation that a hard or disorderly departure from the EU is now less likely strengthened the pound and…

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Emerging Markets: 5 key issues to watch in 2019

Emerging Markets (EM) debt had a torrid 2018 as global macro risks (including general geopolitics and trade wars), softer EM growth and idiosyncratic stories (Argentina, Turkey), all repriced relatively expensive valuations at the beginning of the year. Are the new prices a better reflection of fundamentals? This will largely depend on the evolution of 5 key topics.

  1. China-US – upside surprise…

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Panoramic Weekly: Patient Fed boosts markets

Goldilocks, one of investors’ favourite economic scenarios, seems to have returned in the new year after almost vanishing in 2018: a strong US jobs report and dovish comments from US Federal Reserve (Fed) chair Jerome Powell have reinstated the not-too-hot, not-too-cold environment that combines relatively low rates and good-enough economic growth – supporting risk assets. US High Yield spreads…

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Panoramic Weekly: 2019, fasten your seatbelts?

The new year has started with a blunt reminder of probably everything that investors wanted to forget over the holiday season: economic data is worsening while the oil price continues to fall, dragging down equities and the most equity-like fixed income asset classes. Traditional safe-havens continue to rally, as they did in 2018.

The year left behind ended far worse than it started: after a st…

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