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April 2016

Martin Ford’s Rise of the Robots: a short interview. Also win one of 5 copies of his book.

My book of the year in 2015 was The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford.  I wasn’t alone in liking it; it was the FT McKinsey Business Book of the Year, and set the debate for a year of robotisation stories in financial markets.  Last week we held a Bond Vigilantes x Technology conference here at M&G, with great speeches from Diane Coyle on Digitally Disruptive GDP (are we measuring growth or inf…

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Fossil fuels – The end is nigh

Fossil fuels – The end is nigh

There’s no doubt that the oil industry has seen better days. Adding to present-day woes of price levels of $30-40 per barrel are questions about the long-term viability of the industry’s business model as a whole. Take for example the Rockefeller dynasty and Saudi Arabia, two names synonymous with gigantic fortunes built on oil. Well, the Rockefeller Family Fund just announced its intent to div…

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Which corporate bonds will the ECB buy?

Bond markets have reacted strongly to the 10th March announcement by the European Central Bank (ECB) of its new corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP). Credit spreads of euro-denominated investment grade (IG) corporate bonds have tightened by around 20 bps on average. Still, a lot of the CSPP’s particulars are anybody’s guess at this point. The publication of the account of the last monetar…

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Russia Trip Notes – catching a cold but still standing up

Russian corporate bonds were one of the best performing asset classes last year, with a total return for the JPM CEMBI Russia index of +26%, despite Russia’s GDP dropping by -3.7% on the back of a hugely challenging economic backdrop and geopolitical headwinds. I recently spent a week in the cold of Moscow’s early spring, meeting banks and corporates to help me assess whether the economic sanct…

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Negative Rate World (NRW) – a wiki of unintended consequences

The world has seen negative interest rates before – Switzerland set interest rates below zero for foreigners in the 1970s in order to slow flows into the Franc.  But today’s negative rate environment is far more widespread, with Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, and the Eurozone all setting negative policy rates.  Lots has been written about the intended transmission mechanisms of negative r…

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Does the Overton Window apply to monetary policy? And four other things.

A few things that I’ve found interesting over the past week or so:

  1. I’m just back from a week’s holiday in France, and my news source whilst I was away was the hotel’s International New York Times. Terrible for English Championship football rumours, but lots about US politics and in particular the recent discussion about the Overton Window.  Joseph Overton’s theory is that there is a limited ra…

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