Category Archives:

Eurozone

Sustainable investors, it’s time to talk about Transition bonds

The EU has embarked on a mission to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050. Rather unnoticed amongst COVID-19 headlines, the EU parliament approved the unified EU Green Classification System, also known as the EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Activities, on the 18th of June and turned it into law. A core pillar of the new regulation is to outline whether an economic activity qualif…

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Tourism drop in CEE and CIS – many losers but also some beneficiaries?

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 …

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Has Europe really turned the corner?

Lately a growing number of indicators have suggested that the European economy might be out of the woods, heading towards a more robust recovery. For instance, while European inflation remains significantly below the ECB’s inflation target of close to but below 2%, it is worth highlighting that the year-on-year headline rate has in fact doubled from 0.7% in October 2019 to 1.4% in January 2020….

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It wasn’t perfect, but it was the best we had

No doubt the main thing that Mario Draghi will be remembered for is his famous “whatever it takes”. He told financial markets that the Eurozone was not about to collapse and made it clear that the ECB would save the banks and peripheral sovereign nations of Europe.

More interestingly, however, is to think about how Draghi found himself in the position to be able to QE and to undertake othe…

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What if the ECB starts buying corporate bonds again?

In his distinctively dovish Sintra speech two weeks ago Mario Draghi left the door wide open for further loosening of monetary policy in the Euro area. All options seem to be on the table to bolster European inflation numbers, including a new round of quantitative easing. Draghi’s remark about the ECB’s Asset Purchase Programme (APP) still having considerable headroom fuelled hopes amongst man…

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Would demutualising Germany’s Sparkassen (savings banks) kick-start consumption growth and give the eurozone a boost?

This week the 10-year German bund yield hit a new record low of -0.33% in the wake of Draghi’s Sintra speech which had echoes of his 2012 “whatever it takes” declaration. Why so dovish? Manufacturing data from the eurozone has been universally bad lately, and inflation expectations are collapsing. The core inflation rate is now just 0.8% and the ECB’s 2% target looks an impossible goal. The mar…

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Never a dull moment – trying to make sense of last week

Political turmoil in Italy and Spain, escalating trade tensions and, for good measure, unexpectedly strong US employment data – to say that markets had a turbulent few days would be an understatement. Taking a step back, here are three lessons I took away from last week.

(1) Market sentiment shifts can be brutal

Political risks in the European periphery are real – a statement that might sound t…

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Are the European Commission and the IMF right about Italy?

Persistent structural weaknesses, imbalances, and financial fragilities. These were some of the ways in which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) described the Italian economy in its most recent country report. Almost a decade after the great financial crisis, Italy’s economic prospects remain dim, with the costs borne disproportionately by the working age and younger population. With no gove…

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Are sovereign bond-backed securities the key to financial stability within the Eurozone?

Creating a Eurozone-wide safe asset and thus diversifying sovereign risk within the currency union without the need for sovereign debt mutualisation – sounds like having your cake and eating it, doesn’t it? Well, according to the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), sovereign bond-backed securities (SBBS) might do the trick. SBBS are merely an idea, discussed in ESRB working papers, feasibility…

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Five years on from “whatever it takes”

Today marks five years on from Mario Draghi’s now famous ‘whatever it takes’ remarks, widely credited with sparking a reversal in the Eurozone’s fortunes.

Below are five charts offering some insights into the European Central Bank’s successes and failures in the ensuing period, as well as some of the challenges that remain.

  1. Funding costs in the periphery

Five years ago, funding costs for the …

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