Category Archives:

central banks and supranationals

16.01.14-ME-blog

A look at the Swiss economy a year after the currency peg break

A year ago today the Swiss National Bank (SNB) unexpectedly discontinued its CHF peg against the euro, causing huge moves in the FX markets. On the anniversary of the peg removal I thought it would be interesting to see how the Swiss economy has developed over the past twelve months.

Swiss economy robust, but not immune during 2015

The Swiss economy actually proved to be quite resilient in 2015…

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Three reasons why the UK will not raise rates anytime soon

With the Fed recently raising its interest rates via a unanimous vote, I’ve been wondering whether the UK will shortly follow suit. The market seems to think not, pricing in the first UK rate rise in Q1 of 2017, compared to two further US rate hikes in 2016. At face value this huge divergence feels strange; both countries are targeting (and undershooting) a 2% inflation rate, both have similar …

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Japan trip report – a video from Tokyo. Inflation, Abenomics and cute robots

We did a research trip to Tokyo last month. The main discovery by my colleagues Anjulie Rusius and Anthony Doyle was that I am “annoyingly good at karaoke”. I have to put my hands up to that one. Sadly for you my singing didn’t make it into the official trip report video. Instead we discuss why, counter to popular myth, Japanese policymakers might not want either a) a much weaker yen or b) any …

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2015-09 blog RW

We are there – nothing to fear

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) are due to meet on Thursday and most economists expect a dovish set of minutes to accompany the announcement of no change in the BoE base rate. Additionally, the minutes will likely emphasise the risks of a persistent undershoot in UK inflation given the continued fall in commodity prices and waning global demand. Despite these risks, the MP…

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BoE September Easing

Contrary to popular opinion, the Bank of England’s next move will be a monetary easing

On the 7th of September £38bn worth of UK gilts (4.75% 2015) will mature. The Bank of England (BoE) own just under half the issue, having purchased the bonds through its £375bn quantitative easing (QE) programme. At this point in time, the BoE have indicated that they are committed to keeping the size of the QE program at £375bn. As a result of the 2015 bonds maturing, the bank will therefore h…

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Robotisation rates are correlated with demographics

“We need to hike…so that we have room to cut if we need to”. Eh? And some robot stuff too.

I keep hearing the argument that the Fed needs to hike, so that if the US economy slows down again it will have room to cut rates once more.  In other words it needs to get away from the zero bound so that the traditional monetary policy tool of rate cutting comes back into play in the future.  In less cerebral moments I may have made this argument myself, but I’m struggling to remember why it …

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Banks oiling the wheels with liquidity

An overriding theme for U.S. high yield energy companies in the current oil price environment is having sufficient financial liquidity (cash, bank credit, etc.) to cover their obligations as earnings come under pressure due to low oil prices. Maintaining liquidity until oil prices recover will be paramount for energy companies to survive, even for those names that aren’t especially levered. It …

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Hybrid debt – another beneficiary in the hunt for yield

The rapid growth of the hybrid corporate capital market (non-financial) over the last few years has provided fixed income investors with an opportunity to access a quasi-equity income stream. Much like equities, hybrid bonds are perpetual in nature (though an option to call exists), and allow the issuer a degree of discretion over coupon payments. And, whilst they rank ahead of common equity in…

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Demurrage – a tale of gold, cash and mercenaries

Historically I’ve struggled with the concept of gold as an investment. Presumably if you bought gold for this purpose you would want to store it somewhere safe and insure it. However, investors in gold should account for the fact that there is a cost to sleeping well at night. Vaults and insurance don’t come for free, and that cost can be thought of as a negative yield or the demurrage of gold….

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Long US Treasury bonds are overvalued by 250 bps. Discuss.

As we started 2014 the US Treasury market was expecting 10 year yields to be at 4.13% in a decade’s time. This 10 year 10 year forward yield, derived from the yield curve, is a good measure of where the bond market believes yields get to if you “look through the cycle”, and disregard short term economic trends and noise. I wrote about it here and suggested that we were approaching the top of th…

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