Category Archives:

high yield

Defaults in European Retailers and US Energy on the rise

2019 has been a pleasant ride so far for high yield investors. Over the past 9 months the global high yield market has delivered a total return of 10.9% and an excess return of 6.4%, in part thanks to the U-turn of major central banks. Despite all the good news, things have occasionally gone wrong.

Recent events have reminded high yield investors that investing doesn’t come without risk. Thomas…

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Bond Vigilantes Weekly: 2016 all over again?

Global bond markets rallied after the US Federal Reserve (Fed) signalled on Wednesday what financial markets had been pricing in for months: the central bank will most likely retract from its rate hiking plans this year, given the global economic slowdown, lower oil prices and generally muted domestic inflation. The Fed also indicated its balance sheet may not shrink as much as expected as it n…

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High Yield in 2019 – floating or fixed?

As we all know, 2018 turned out to be a tough year for most asset classes, not least High Yield (HY) bonds. The sell-off in the fourth quarter was particularly quick and brutal compared to the recent lulls of benign volatility under the blanket of central bank largesse. Global HY lost a few percentage points in pure local currency terms in 2018, whilst the lower beta and more senior secured hea…

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High Yield managers need to up their ESG game: 4 recommendations

Not that we needed anybody’s reassurance, but the UK government’s decision that pension fund trustees must consider financially material ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors in their assessments, definitely helps those who believe that sustainability is becoming a need more than a choice – for society and investors alike.

In my view, an ESG lens can help monitor qualitative risks …

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The Rise of Emerging Market Corporate Bonds

Few investors would have bet on emerging market (“EM”) corporate bonds fifteen years ago. In 2004 the EM external (also known as hard-currency) corporate bond universe was relatively small at approximately US$ 270bn. By 2009 the asset class had more than doubled to US$ 600bn driven by strong economic expansion across developing economies notably the BRIC countries. Since the global financial cr…

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Panoramic Weekly: Bonds take a bath

The bond sell-off that started last week with the publication of strong US data continued over the past five trading days, even if Friday’s job report came in below expectations and a slew of global data and events only confirmed a worsening momentum: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut this year’s world economic growth forecast to 3.7%, down from 3.9%, citing challenges to trade; Italian…

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Panoramic Weekly: Stars and Strikes

Global bond markets reacted sharply to Wednesday’s release of US Services data, which struck its best mark in 21 years: US 10-year yields spiked to 3.2%, the highest since 2011, while the dollar reversed a gloomy September to recover its August level. The usually less reactive 30-year Treasury yields surged, leading some investors such as M&G fund manager Richard Woolnough to argue that the mar…

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EM HY - US HY spread

Emerging Market High Yield: is there value after the sell-off?

The ongoing financial meltdown in Turkey, increasing risks of more US sanctions on Russia and a repricing of China High Yield (HY) bonds – on the back of higher defaults and increased trade war tensions -, have all resulted in a significant widening of Emerging Market (EM) HY corporate credit spreads. Investors are now getting paid 525 basis points (bps) over US Treasuries for investing in EM “…

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Panoramic Weekly: The US vs. the world

Prices of most global corporate bonds rose over the past five trading days, as above-expectations US economic data fuelled the dollar, took US equities to new heights, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed its US growth prospects while cutting those for the Eurozone, Britain and Japan. The risk-on optimism left behind Emerging Markets (EM) sovereign debt, hit by the protracted US-…

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The impact of the technology tantrum on US corporate bond valuations

It is fair to say that markets have become more lively of late. One sector in particular has been the epicentre of revived market volatility – Technology.

In the US high yield market, the US tech sector has weakened relative to the broader US high yield market. Given higher leveraged balance sheets, high yield bonds tend to be more sensitive to sector specific headwinds.

The chart below shows t…

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