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A wrap up of 2016 bond and currency market performance

Turning back the clock to the first week of 2016, fears of a Chinese slowdown and the Federal Reserve beginning to normalise rates hit stock markets hard. By Valentine’s Day bond yields had fallen to – what was then – all-time lows.  But we hadn’t seen anything yet. Ongoing ECB QE, Brexit, UK QE, novel Japanese monetary policy, president-elect Trump and ECB tapering. In a year of political and …

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japan-research1

Japan research trip: how will the Bank of Japan exit YCC?

Guest contributor – Jean-Paul Jaegers, CFA, CQF (Senior Investment Strategist, Prudential Portfolio Management Group)

Recently Jim Leaviss and I travelled to Tokyo to discuss local economic developments and Bank of Japan (BoJ) policy with economists and analysts based in Tokyo.

There was generally broad agreement that the potential path for Japanese government bond yields (JGBs) is asymmetric. …

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panoramicnov16-1

A whole new ball game. M&G 2017 economic and bond market outlook.

In our latest Panoramic Outlook, Jim Leaviss has a look at the forces that resulted in a tumultuous year for establishment politics, the ECB’s quantitative easing dilemma and the prospects for emerging markets in 2017. For the first time since the financial crisis, it appears that bond yields will come under sustained pressure as central banks gradually remove monetary stimulus. The impacts of …

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fixedversus1

Fixed versus floaters: four reasons to like high yield floating rate notes right now

With the market currently pricing in an 84% chance of a US interest rate hike in December it appears likely that there is some pressure for bond yields to move higher on a medium term view. This is on top of the re-pricing that we have already seen in risk-free assets like US Treasuries over the course of the past four months. High yield assets are not immune from the laws of bond maths, with l…

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Three reasons we like UK residential mortgage backed securities

The residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) market has had a good run of late, so is the sector still good value and is there room for it to rally further?

The short answer:  Yes.

The longer answer: There are a number of factors that should prove supportive for RMBS going forward, a few of which are discussed below.

  1. Structure

The Big Short has been available on Netflix for a couple of m…

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halloween-charts-1

It’s Halloween. Here are some scary charts.

The financial world is a scary place. Debt, disinflation and deteriorating growth have plagued investors over the past year, plunging bond yields into negative territory in a number of countries. Perhaps most frighteningly, it is now eight years since the financial crisis and central banks in the developed world continue to employ an ultra-easy monetary policy stance. With government bond marke…

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Either the demographic bond models are broken, or yields are headed to 10%.

For fixed income fund managers it was once the case that if you understood the evolution of the relative sizes of the various cohorts of the young, the working, and the retired in a population, you could predict bond returns.  Lots of workers relative to the “unproductive” young or elderly meant low wage pressures, lots of demand for savings assets such as bonds, and lower government borrowing….

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sub-zero-yields1

With zero yields, the advantages of bonds over cash are gone

When investors buy or sell financial assets they try to analyse likely outcomes. This basically revolves around three main issues.

  1. What is the capital upside?
  1. What is the capital downside?
  1. What income is earned from the security?

The dramatic fall in bond yields means that this traditional approach to investing will have to be examined.

One way to do this is to model real world outcomes. …

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mind-the-gap

Mind the gap: what record low recovery rates mean for high yield investors

In order to assess value in credit markets, bond investors usually make some assumption about the future path of corporate default rates. This assumption generally stems from macroeconomic forecasts (strong/weak growth = low/high defaults rates) or sector specific events (like oil price movements). Following this, it is possible to get an indication of whether investors are being over- or under…

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Richard Woolnough’s views on the U.S. economy and bond markets. A video.

In the second part of the video from our recent New York research trip, M&G’s Richard Woolnough takes a look at three more topics. Firstly, the U.S. labour market is strong and inflationary pressures are building. The Federal Reserve is currently on hold due to external events, but maybe not for long. Secondly, while the lower oil price by and large is beneficial for Western economies, bond val…

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