Monthly Archives:

July 2012

Climate change – bzirc monetary policy

As investors we get used to living within certain recognised bounds. For example, it has been commonly assumed that interest rates cannot be sub-zero. There has been the odd historical quirk when we’ve seen negative rates (Switzerland in the 1970s), but that’s more for amusement than general investment consumption. However, there now appears to be the potential for a major investment climate ch…

Read the article

Emerging market debt is ‘cool’ – but you may be surprised what you find if you strip away the marketing myths

EM debt is a bit like Converse shoes; it seems almost everyone I speak to owns some.

Readers will no doubt be familiar with the EM ‘grand narrative’ (eg EM will surely outperform because of low debt levels, high growth, strong demographics etc etc). We’ve written an in-depth note, which is part of our Panoramic series for professional investors, in an attempt to bash away this EM ‘grand narrati…

Read the article

The quiet de-coupling of high yield from equity markets continues

High yield and equities have historically been seen as highly correlated in terms of their returns, and before 2008, this was true. However, what we have witnessed in the post-Lehman environment is a structural shift that requires a more nuanced appreciation of the relationship between fixed income and equities. This is something we looked at in a more in depth piece we published earlier this y…

Read the article

Competition: the 10 winners of the book are…

First the the answer. Denmark cut official interest rates on its certificates of deposit to MINUS 0.2%. We now have negative nominal interest rates on short dated government bills or bonds in several countries – including Switzerland, Finland, France, Denmark, and Germany.

We had 167 correct answers, and out of the hat came the following 10 winners who each get of a copy of “Debt: The First 5,0…

Read the article

Crazy weather and the butterfly effect on inflation

It seems that the wettest “summer” on record in England is not only playing havoc with the M&G cricket team’s schedule, it is also having a massive impact on the nation’s butterflies. Sir David Attenborough is asking people to participate in the world’s biggest butterfly survey – The Big Butterfly Count – to see how the butterfly population has fared after all the wet weather we have been havin…

Read the article

Peripheral corporate bonds and mass downgrade risk

Staying with the Bon Jovi theme, ‘Ugly’ was a track released by Jon Bon Jovi on his second solo album in 1998. It isn’t well known, or any good for that matter, but it does aptly describe the price action of Spanish and Italian corporate paper of late.

Plenty of attention has been paid to the yield on Spanish and Italian govies – currently around 7% and 6% for 10-year bonds – but their bellweth…

Read the article

UK gilts – “Whoah we’re half way there, Whoah livin’ on a prayer…”

Last week the Bank of England announced a further round of quantitative easing of £50bn, bringing the total to £375bn. It is obvious that the MPC thinks that monetary policy is still not sufficiently loose to create the desired economic effect and hence further stimulus is needed.

We have written numerous times on QE. When we started scribing on this novel experiment we focused on why it needed…

Read the article

Two charts for anyone who still believes in ‘decoupling’

Q2 was a grim quarter, not just for the Eurozone economy but for the global economy. The downturn in Citigroup’s economic surprise indices that began in March picked up speed through to June, while PMIs in almost all corners of the world weakened in Q2 as can be seen by the PMI heatmap.

The good news is that the authorities have begun to respond to the downturn with more stimulus (as seen by ye…

Read the article

Competition: win David Graeber’s “Debt: the First 5000 Years”

I’ve not read David Graeber’s “Debt: the First 5000 Years” yet – an anthropological investigation into the origins of money and debt – but have had it highly recommended to me and the reviews on Amazon suggest it’s a staggering original work. So I’ve bought a job lot for the team, and 10 extras for you to win in today’s competition.

Question: Denmark yesterday cut official interest rates on its…

Read the article

US – a video from Chicago. Research trip on the US High Yield market

I recently returned from Chicago after a research trip. We put together a short video to share a few of our findings with the wider world. The mood of most economists, investors and indeed the man on the street was noticeably more upbeat than in Europe. With positive GDP growth, a housing market showing the first signs of stabilisation, if not growth, and – in our opinion – a banking system tha…

Read the article