Category Archives:

Emerging markets

Three of our most popular charts

We often use Twitter to share the charts that we think are interesting, but probably don’t warrant the extra analysis of a blog. With this in mind, I’ve had a look to see which charts were most favourited or retweeted by our followers at @bondvigilantes and provided a little more detail than 140 characters can allow.

  1. Fed Loan Officer Survey show US banks have tightened standards for six consec…

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Research trip: Mexico & Trump – a key call in emerging markets

President Trump’s anti-Mexico rhetoric has made Mexican assets one of the key calls in emerging market debt. I have just returned from a research trip to Mexico where I met with local economists, analysts, and corporate bond issuers. Below are a number of observations from my time there.

Donald Trump won the election on a fairly protectionist rhetoric – with a special focus on Mexico – and the …

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Emerging market debt: 2016 post-mortem and 2017 outlook

Despite a year of high political turmoil – which of course included the UK EU referendum and the US elections – emerging market assets proved surprisingly resilient to the various global events, even with rising core government yields in the second half of 2016.  Given that starting valuations at the beginning of the year, both with respect to credit spreads as well as currencies, were pricing …

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The US election result impact on emerging markets

Today’s US election result has several implications for emerging markets. At a first glance, the outcome is clearly negative, given the potential downside risks from increased trade protectionism, anti-immigration measures, large fiscal expansion and steepening of the US yield curve and uncertainty in terms of foreign policy.

These risks are already being reflected in asset prices. Since the re…

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The perpetual bond market in Brazil is misrated

In developed markets, the vast majority of perpetual bonds are contractually subordinated, i.e. it is stated in the bond documentation that they are junior to any senior secured or unsecured debt, and as a result they tend to have lower bond ratings than senior bonds in the same capital structure because they have a lower expected recovery value. In emerging markets, however, it is not uncommon…

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China’s rising domestic bond defaults could spell offshore bond market rout

Chaori Solar and Baoding Tianwei will forever remain in the history of China’s bond market. In March 2014 the former became the first defaulter in the country’s onshore bond market whilst the latter turned out to be the first state-owned enterprise (SOE) default in China in April 2015. Since then, 24 other bond defaults occurred in the country, the majority of which in the manufacturing, metals…

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Russia Trip Notes – catching a cold but still standing up

Russian corporate bonds were one of the best performing asset classes last year, with a total return for the JPM CEMBI Russia index of +26%, despite Russia’s GDP dropping by -3.7% on the back of a hugely challenging economic backdrop and geopolitical headwinds. I recently spent a week in the cold of Moscow’s early spring, meeting banks and corporates to help me assess whether the economic sanct…

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The Central American Remittance Crunch – who would lose most from a Trump Presidency?

The US election campaign has surprised everyone thus far. Candidate Donald Trump has vowed to deport all of the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the US. He has also declared that he would impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages. We have written before how Central America and the Caribbean would benefit from improving US growth and have been invested in variou…

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How long until China reaches the floor of the recommended reserve adequacy range?

Much has been discussed on the topic of the optimal level of foreign exchange reserves. One of the common methodologies is the IMF’s ARA (Assessing Reserve Adequacy) metric, which essentially provides a range based on a country’s trade, broad monetary aggregates and external liabilities. How much weight should be given to each factor varies according to the economic structure of each country, i…

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Oil is everywhere. But what matters most are the idiosyncratic stories. Within this context, it is fair to say that an emerging market bond portfolio is unlikely to be fully immune to oil. Looking into 2016, this is good news if you are bullish oil: any significant oil price increase will in most cases drive a rally in emerging market assets. If you are bearish oil, you may still find interesting investment opportunities: the Oil & Gas sector in emerging markets generated a negative return of -3.0% in 2015 but the dispersion of corporate bond returns was huge and not necessarily correlated to oil prices. For instance, the fall in Petrobras bonds was more driven by the ongoing corruption scandal in Brazil and the group’s debt levels than the actual decline in oil prices. On the other hand, despite their country exposure, PDVSA (Venezuelan state-owned oil company) or LUKOIL (Russia-based oil producer) bonds had double-digit total returns in 2015. In what might be a good lesson for 2016, it shows that in emerging markets, in many cases, macro and credit idiosyncratic stories matter more than oil.

Oil price slump is a drag on emerging markets. But wait, why?

Oil price moves and their impacts on emerging markets will continue to be a hot topic in 2016. It is true that economies which rely heavily on oil exports and fiscal revenues, such as Saudi Arabia, Russia or Venezuela, have been facing an extremely challenging macro environment with the decline in oil prices. But, overall, there are more net oil importers than exporters amongst the developing e…

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