Category Archives:

rates and yields

A pretty good indicator of USD/EUR exchange rate movements

After four calendar years of price appreciation, it looks like the US dollar will end 2017 deeply in negative territory. The dollar has fallen by almost 12% this year versus the euro and around 8% on a trade weighted basis. More surprisingly, the sharp depreciation of the dollar against the euro has occurred in a period when central bank policy has diverged, resulting in the yield differential …

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Low yield, low quality, weaker covenants

When investing in companies of a lower credit quality, loss given default risk is the key threat that investors have to assess. Consequently, covenant protection is a crucial consideration before lending capital to a company. We wrote about covenant protection back in 2014 and it’s fair to say that covenant quality in the high yield market hasn’t improved much since then; actually quite the opp…

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Cracks in the reflation trade

It is hard to remember a time when there was so much disagreement around the outlook for corporate bond markets and risk assets. Some investors remain sceptical about the underlying strength of the rally and are uneasy at the pace at which secular stagnation concerns were washed away by the election of Donald Trump. Other investors, hesitant to hold cash or in negative yielding short-dated gove…

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Canada’s increasingly divergent rate path

Yields on Canadian sovereign bonds have been dragged higher in recent months, with the yield on the 10-year bond recently reaching 2 year highs. This sell-off appears to reflect the US reflation narrative, rather than the economic fundamentals of the Canadian economy.

The market currently thinks the Bank of Canada will remain on hold throughout 2017, pricing in only one rate hike – a 20 basis …

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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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Chicago research trip video: Tight labour markets and crisis-like corporate bond valuations

It has been a while since we last uploaded a video from one of our U.S. research trips. The question we asked in March as to whether the Fed would hike interest rates this year or not has still not been conclusively answered. Although a 2015 hike is not completely off the table, as we are entering the final two months of the year it seems a lot less likely than it did back then. Nonetheless, fr…

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What should the relationship be between index-linked bond yields and equity yields?

There ought to be a relationship between yields available on equities (earnings or dividend yields) and those on index-linked gilts and other inflation-linked bonds.  Ex-ante, and adjusted for risk, expected returns should be similar across asset classes.  In the case of equities and index-linked bonds, both asset classes give you exposure to “real” returns on both income and capital.  For inde…

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What are index-linked corporate bonds telling us at the moment?

When in past years I have fielded calls from bankers faintly like Chad ‘Ace’ Jefferson III (A Brave New World: Zero Yield Corporate Bonds) requesting any potential interest in new index-linked corporate bond issues, I have often begun my feedback by pointing to an old maxim. This well-known dogma posits that an index-linked corporate bond should price 25 basis points or so wider than a comparab…

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Hybrid debt – another beneficiary in the hunt for yield

The rapid growth of the hybrid corporate capital market (non-financial) over the last few years has provided fixed income investors with an opportunity to access a quasi-equity income stream. Much like equities, hybrid bonds are perpetual in nature (though an option to call exists), and allow the issuer a degree of discretion over coupon payments. And, whilst they rank ahead of common equity in…

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How steep is the USD IG credit spread curve?

Is now the time to buy long-dated USD IG corporate bonds?

Credit curves are usually upwards sloping; as you’d expect, investors require more of a credit risk term premium for lending for a long time than for a short time, all else being equal. As the charts below show however, the steepness of USD IG non-financial credit curves has become rather extreme in 2014. At year end, the asset swap (ASW) spread differential between c. 25 years and c. 2 years w…

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