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Eurozone

Greek debt forgiveness: Where there’s a will, there’s a way

The Euro Summit meeting in Brussels that took place a couple of weeks ago seems to have finally provided some temporary closure to the Greek debt crisis. The dreaded Grexit scenario was avoided (at least for the moment) and the Greek government was able to repay its arrears to the IMF and the ECB using the €7.2 billion bridge loan provided by the European Council. Looking ahead, this short term…

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M&G Panoramic Outlook: Jim Leaviss’ views for the second half of 2015

Deflation. Liquidity. Greece. These are the words of 2015 if you are a bond investor. The year started off with a bang, or rather a break, when the Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced the surprise abandonment of the peg with the euro. This was only a mere week before the European Central Bank (ECB) embarked upon an historic quantitative easing programme. Deflation took hold in Europe, governmen…

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Argentina saw a huge rebound in growth when it abandoned its dollar peg

Greece is not Argentina: don’t expect exports to drive growth if Greece leaves the euro

I have heard it said, semi-seriously, that the biggest risk for the Eurozone isn’t that Greece leaves the single currency and its economy collapses, but that it leaves and thrives.  In this scenario Greece starts again, debt free, able to adapt fiscal easing rather than austerity, and with a devalued “new drachma” encouraging an influx of tourists and a manufacturing and agricultural export boo…

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Greece, the currency vigilantes and the Expulso solution

It has been a while since we have discussed the economics of the single currency, but once again the issue of its suitability for all its members is at the forefront of economic concerns, as Greece faces some difficult decisions.

The financial crisis has taught us a number of lessons: fiscal policy works, monetary policy works, better regulation is beneficial for the financial sector, confidenc…

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Coming to a bond market near you: “A Brave New World: Zero Yield Corporate Bonds”

Picture the scene: a meeting room, 40 floors up, plate glass floor-to-ceiling windows with views of central London in the background. At the polished mahogany table sits Hans Schmidt, the CFO of a major consumer global goods company. In walks Chad “Ace” Jefferson III, the latest in a long line of investment bankers assigned to cover his company. Behind Chad follows an entourage of five impeccab…

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Europe needs a German fiscal stimulus package but won’t get it

The German government can theoretically borrow at negative yields if it were to issue short maturity debt today. Longer maturity debt is also yielding a record low amount. Could the collapse in yields be a blessing for Germany and Europe? Two economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) seem to think so. Indeed, the German government’s narrow-minded pursuit of the “black zero” (a balance…

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€1tn increase required in ECB balance sheet to return to mid-2012 levels

Who’s the biggest winner if ECB buys corporates? The French

With the European Central Bank (ECB) purchasing €1.7bn of covered bonds last week, the Eurozone’s “QE-lite” programme has well and truly begun. Although the focus to date has been on covered and asset backed bonds, an article from Reuters last week spurred the market, due to a rumour that the ECB would soon be considering an extension to include secondary market corporate bond purchases. Althou…

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It’s the regulation, stupid: the ECB’s ABS purchase programme

The ECB is finally joining the Quantitative Easing (QE) party. Un-sterilised asset purchases have been a major policy tool in most of the developed world over the past few years but next month (as the Fed ends theirs, incidentally) the ECB will make its first foray into QE proper by embarking on an asset backed security (ABS) purchase programme.

Through this programme, focused on “simple, trans…

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Race to the Bottom: Eurozone Inflation Rates

In principle, the European Central Bank (ECB) is well in line with its price stability objective, which it defines as a “year-on-year increase in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) for the euro area of below 2%”. Nonetheless, July inflation numbers released last week bring the currency union as a whole dangerously close to deflationary territory. The aggregate HICP annual rate of ch…

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The Great Compression of peripheral to core European risk premiums

Are investors still compensated adequately for investing in peripheral rather than core European debt, or has the on-going convergence eroded debt valuation differentials altogether? In his latest blog entry, James highlighted five signs indicating that the bond markets consider the Eurozone crisis resolved. Inter alia, James pointed out that risk premiums for peripheral vs. core European high …

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