Professor Robert Gordon of North-Western University was in town this week to give speeches at Prospect Magazine (which is ace by the way) and the LSE. His latest book, “The Rise and Fall of American Growth” was released earlier this year, and is a tremendously powerful antidote to the wave of techno-optimism we might feel when we see shiny electric cars and gadgets coming out of Silicon Valley…Read the article
This weekend the team were doing more than just our Christmas shopping, we were also saying a fond farewell to one of our favourite investments of recent times – our Granite Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS).
Granite was the name that Northern Rock gave to the vehicle it used to securitise the mortgages that it originated before blowing up in 2007 – when it was no longer able to fun…Read the article
I just spent two weeks traveling Latin America around the IMF meetings in Lima. The region is navigating through various shocks: lower commodity prices, deteriorating balance sheets, growth and fiscal deterioration, an urgent need for structural reforms and significant political challenges. There is plenty to write about, so in the next couple of days I will post a series of blogs focused on th…Read the article
Recently Claudia and I were in Lima for the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank. Unsurprisingly (given the host nation and history of the meetings) the majority of sessions were on the developing world, in particular Latin America. Claudia will shortly be posting a series of more detailed blogs on the LATAM countries she visited, so I’ll focus more globally.
In aggregate, the IMF is predi…Read the article
Brazil has been facing the perfect storm since the re-election of Dilma Rousseff in October 2014 and asset prices in Latin America’s largest country have collapsed. Credit default swaps on Brazil 5-year sovereign debt in US dollar and hard-currency corporate bond spreads widened to as much as 545 bps and 938 bps respectively, as at the end of September 2015, which is higher than during the 2008…Read the article
Whilst economic forecasters are currently concerned about falling oil prices and the implications for global growth, weather forecasters worry about the impact an El Niño weather event could have on global weather patterns. In August, America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said there is a 90% chance that the current Niño event will continue through the remainder of the…Read the article
U.S. high yield energy bonds have sold off recently, virtually reversing their Q1/Q2 rally. The main culprit is, again, oil prices. The recent re-re pricing in oil has led to energy bonds trading at levels worse than the last time oil sold-off at the beginning of 2015. In fact, the BAML U.S. high yield energy index this week reached its widest levels (in terms of spreads) since April 2009 at …Read the article
The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has announced this morning that it is improving the pricing mechanism of the daily fixing rate of the renminbi. It will do this by referencing the previous day’s closing rate and by taking into account “demand and supply conditions in the foreign exchange markets” as well as exchange rate movements of other major currencies. As a result, the USDCNY (US dollar t…Read the article
The euro’s 12-year low against the dollar is a mixed blessing for US companies. On the one hand, the US manufacturing sector is suffering from an uncompetitive currency and lower export revenues. But on the other, rock bottom European interest rates have given US companies an attractive opportunity to issue bonds denominated in euros and lock in cheap financing. For example, in the first quarte…Read the article
CPI in the UK today fell into negative territory for the first time, posting a 0.1% decline year-over-year. Airfares presented a meaningful drag on the April figures, owing to the timing of Easter compared to last year. Carriers increase their prices over Easter holidays, so when Easter moves between months this causes flight prices to move around, thereby affecting the headline inflation numbe…Read the article