Category Archives:

Interest rates

Beware the death of Libor

Guest contributor – David Covey (Financial Institutions Analyst, M&G Fixed Income Team)

The end is coming for the London interbank offered rate (Libor).  Ten years after suspicions emerged that this key interest rate was being manipulated in the financial crisis, regulators are ramping up their efforts to replace the benchmark rates. The Bank of England (BoE) and US Federal Reserve are leading …

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Mexico: a primer. Elections, inflation, the Bank of Mexico, NAFTA and gasoline

I’m just back from a fascinating research trip to Mexico City, to meet with policymakers, bankers, politicians, analysts, pension funds and regulators.  Like many emerging market economies, the Mexican economy has suffered over the past couple of years due to lower commodity prices and weak global demand for goods.  Of course, Mexico has had its own unique challenge with Donald Trump’s election…

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The euro and the dollar: rates not driving performance. So what is?

Despite US rate hikes in December, March and another last week, the US dollar has depreciated back to pre-election levels.  All of the Trumpflation dollar premium has disappeared.  As the Trump dollar trade appears to have run out of steam, the Euro has however been climbing. Optimism around the Euro area growth comeback grew leading up to the ECB meeting earlier this month, with EUR/USD hittin…

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Mortgages and monetary policy in the US and UK

The cost of new mortgage borrowing and payments on outstanding household debt can have a large impact on the rate of growth of an economy. For this reason, central bankers are interested in the transmission mechanism of monetary policy. It has been shown that interest rates can have a stronger influence on an economy where there are a high proportion of variable rather than fixed-rate mortgages…

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Tantrums and tidbits: Government bond market déjà vu

I have been overwhelmed by a sense of déjà vu of late. Talk of rates not rising again this cycle (US), ever again (Europe), or even being cut even further (UK, Japan) prevails. Quantitative easing continues apace and could be set to broaden further, be that in its duration or via the inclusion of new types of assets. Economic growth appears to be stalling, corporate profitability is showing lat…

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Mind the gap: what record low recovery rates mean for high yield investors

In order to assess value in credit markets, bond investors usually make some assumption about the future path of corporate default rates. This assumption generally stems from macroeconomic forecasts (strong/weak growth = low/high defaults rates) or sector specific events (like oil price movements). Following this, it is possible to get an indication of whether investors are being over- or under…

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Bond market reaction to UK “Leave” vote

The UK has voted to “Leave” the EU.  We’re seeing some significant moves in fixed income assets first thing this morning as financial markets had very much discounted a “Remain” outcome, in line with the last opinion polls and in particular the betting markets which had heavily backed that outcome.  The biggest market movements though have occurred in the FX markets where the pound fell from ne…

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The unintended consequences of Negative Rate World Part II. An update.

At the start of April I wrote about some of the unintended consequences of central banks setting negative interest rates. I also promised to update the blog as we spotted more interesting implications, and asked readers to submit examples too.  Thanks for those who got in touch.  Here are some more of the interesting things that happen when the zero lower bound ceases to exist, as well as links…

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Will the €500 note trade at a premium or discount once the ECB stops printing them? The poll results are in…

Earlier this week Richard Woolnough wrote a blog about negative rates and tax on interest.  In it he also suggested that once the ECB stops printing the €500 note and ends issuance of its existing notes at the end of 2018, the legacy notes will trade at a premium.  The argument is that because the notes will remain legal tender across the Eurozone, demand for a note with the lowest storage cost…

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Negative rates – a tax on saving? Don’t forget about actual tax

There has been much discussion recently that by introducing negative rates central banks are effectively taxing savings. This is self-explanatory, and is one of the criticisms of how negative rates can distort economic behaviour. This however is not a new phenomenon.  Let’s not forget that money has always been effectively clipped by the traditional enemy of savers – inflation. Fortunately, hol…

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