Rating agencies’ drawbacks come to light again
In times of crisis, markets understandably pay particular attention to the actions of credit rating agencies. For example, during the global financial crisis of 2008-09, the rating agencies were widely accused of failing to identify the widespread vulnerabilities in the financial system, reacting with “behind-the-curve” blanket downgrades. The … Read the article
Markets ended 2020 in a buoyant mood, with emerging market spreads tightening in the final quarter as the US election result and positive vaccine news provided a boost to investor sentiment. While nobody has been blind to the global recession, focus has shifted to expectations of an economic recovery.
Most people were happy to see the back of 2020. It was an eventful and challenging ye… Read the article
In this 15-minute interview I ask M&G’s Greg Smith, an emerging market debt strategist with a speciality in Africa and formerly a World Bank economist in Zambia, how the continent is coping with the Covid-19 pandemic. We also discuss how worried we should be about the negative headlines coming out of the region over Zambia’s recent default on its international bonds. Is this the start of a w… Read the article
The Covid-19 crisis has been a very different recession in a number of ways. One that I think is particularly interesting is the role of banks. While it is a vast oversimplification, ask ten people what caused the great financial crisis, and nine will answer “the banks!”.
This time round, it has been the commercial banks that have helped many economies to remain functioning. Nowhere is that… Read the article
Egypt has just entered the green bond market, pricing a debut $750 million five-year issue. The bonds join a small but growing asset class of emerging market sovereign green bonds. Since Poland issued a green bond in 2016, there’s been growing green emerging sovereign issuance including by Fiji, Nigeria, Indonesia, Hungary and Chile. These have been joined by broader social, sustainable and pa… Read the article
Last week saw the first ever issuance of a Sustainability-Linked Bond (SLB) from an emerging market issuer. Brazilian pulp & paper producer Suzano issued US$750 million of Jan-2031 bonds at a yield of 3.95%. The bond coupon (3.75%) is subject to a sustainability performance target and shall increase by 25bps per annum from July 2026, if the issuer does not meet its target in 2025. It is differ… Read the article
When Ken Ofori-Att – the Ghanaian finance minister – presented mid-year budget revisions, he highlighted the huge challenges of the pandemic. The Ghanaian response to COVID-19 has been quick, well organised and aimed at stopping economic weakness becoming a depression. But the rescue is coming at a large financial cost to the country. The fiscal deficit is forecast to be around 11% of GDP in 2… Read the article
The COVID-19-induced slowdown of the past few months has been different from past crises for a number of reasons. One of the most significant differences has been the greater ability of emerging market central banks to provide support to their economies, as we wrote about a few weeks ago. An interesting example is that of Indonesia. Last week, Indonesia’s central bank (Bank Indonesia – “BI”) c… Read the article
Summer has arrived, and so should the main tourist season in Europe in a normal year. However, as we know, this year has been anything but normal. With lockdown endings in sight across the majority of countries in the region, most are preparing to welcome tourists back. Some have already opened their borders for EU visitors, while many prepare to open them for everyone from late June or early … Read the article
Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Mongolia have each been severely impacted by COVID-19, albeit in different ways. These frontier economies each straddle two worlds. They’re emerging markets in the sense they’ve had access to global debt markets, with their eurobonds included in JP Morgan’s emerging market bond index. But their credit ratings are far below those of investment grade sovereigns, such as I… Read the article