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2015-05 Blog BL

The Bond Market is Looking Through Present Inflation Numbers

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…

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Last week: the election, the abolition of physical money, and how Tesla’s new battery is going to change the world and save us from a future zombie apocalypse

Here are a few quick thoughts about things that happened last week.

First, the UK election and the failure of the opinion polls. Ahead of the General Election we met with several of the big opinion pollsters, and even ran a Bond Vigilantes x Politics event featuring Anthony Wells of YouGov. Without exception they highlighted how unusual it was that, whilst the Conservatives appeared to be neck …

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Explaining the collapse in global inflation rates – step forward China

We’ve been worried for years about the prospect of a sharp slowdown in China and the knock on implications for those countries and companies that have grown reliant on a strong China over the last decade, namely commodity exporters, some emerging markets, and particularly emerging market commodity exporters (eg see If China’s economy rebalances and growth slows, as it surely must, then who’s sc…

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Competition winners for Richard Koo’s book: 10 copies of The Escape from Balance Sheet Recession and the QE Trap

Richard Koo popped by our office a few weeks ago to discuss his most recent book The Escape from Balance Sheet recession and the QE Trap.  You can see the interview here.  We asked who was the Japanese prime minister in 1997 who oversaw arguably Japan’s biggest policy error post the collapse of Japan’s debt fuelled bubble, and the answer was Ryutaro Hashimoto.

It is perhaps a little harsh to im…

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Tweet inflation survey March 15

The M&G YouGov Inflation Expectations Survey – Q1 2015

Economic policy hawks love inflation expectation surveys. As do bond fund managers, who like to keep a close eye on inflation to ensure that fixed income returns aren’t being eroded away. Provided that inflation expectations are close to target, we tend to argue expectations are well anchored and thus central bankers can rest easy. However, the monetary policy actions undertaken by many central…

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The improvement in the US jobs market is quantitatively huge – but qualitatively mediocre

The condition of the US labour market is one of the hot topics in the ongoing “will they / won’t they” Fed rate hiking debate, and as Bloomberg’s Economic Surprises screen shows, this sector is the only area of the economy outperforming expectations of late.

Labour market indicators continue to impress, with employment indicators strong on many measures. Initial Jobless Claims have dropped to …

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The Middle-East – an expensive safe haven for bond investors

I am just back from a fascinating investor trip to the Middle-East, where I spent a week meeting with corporate and government bond issuers as well as market participants in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). We spoke at length about Islamic finance, the oil price impact and geopolitical risk.

When I asked the question of the oil price impact on the region to corporate issuers and government offic…

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Goodbye to War Loan: 1917 to 2015.

Today, the War Loan issued in 1917 to help finance Britain in World War 1 is finally redeemed. We’ve written about it repeatedly over the years as it has always fascinated us. Was its coupon cut in 1932 a form of default from the UK government? Does George Osborne’s claim that it is being redeemed this year as a result of a tight grip on the public finances ring true?

To commemorate this most i…

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Video: Jim & Mike go to NY to ask the big question. Will the Fed hike in 2015?

Have you seen the film The Day After Tomorrow? The one where U.N. officials foolishly ignore climate scientist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) and a super-storm plunges New York into a new Ice Age? Well it was colder than that last week when Mike and I made a research visit over there. With wind-chill it was a billion below. I was only able to survive by laughing at Mike forgetting to wear a hat and g…

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Operation normalise

The Fed has basically used three major themes in response to the financial crisis from a monetary point of view:

  1. Lower short term rates
  2. Quantitative easing
  3. Operation twist – an attempt to flatten the yield curve

The Fed has communicated that it now expects the first move in normalising rates as the economy recovers will be to increase short term rates. Personally I think there are other alter…

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