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“More: The 10,000 Year Rise of the World Economy” by Philip Coggan. Win a copy of the book in our competition.

Last week I interviewed Philip Coggan, the Economist journalist who writes the Bartleby column. His new book, “More: The 10,000 Year Rise of the World Economy” is out now, and it’s essential reading for anyone at all interested in the development of the global economy from the caveman through to the tech giants of today. One review of the book I read suggested it was a 21st century update to A…

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In times of crisis, can the yen still leave you feeling zen?

This week has seen risk-off sentiment back with a vengeance as the Coronavirus outbreak dominates news headlines globally. Thus, investors are flocking to historically safe assets like low beta currencies, government bonds or investment grade corporate bonds with low default risks. However, can Japanese assets like the yen, nominal government bonds (JGBs) and inflation-linked government bonds …

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Are EM Bank Bonds a Defensive Play?

Emerging market (EM) banks appear to be a defensive asset class – who’d have thought it? It certainly goes against everything we learned in the Great Financial Crisis (GFC). Surely banks are pro-cyclical beasts whose performance surges in times of economic plenty and struggles in more recessionary periods? In the world of Emerging Markets credit, however, things seem different. At least for se…

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Craics begin to show in Ireland’s political establishment

With European media outlets focusing on the coronavirus and storm Ciara this week, only little attention was given to the Irish general election held on Saturday. Undeservedly so, I’d argue, considering that the election results mark a seismic shift in Irish politics. The surge of Sinn Féin, winning 24.5% of the first-preference vote, de facto ended the two-party dominance of Fine Gael (20.9%)…

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Can Africa’s wall of eurobond repayments be dismantled?

There has been a wave of African eurobond issuance over the past decade. South Africa started the eurobond  trend for the continent in 1995, but it has only been since the global financial crisis that push and pull factors have encouraged broader African issuance.

The asset class has grown to 21 African countries with outstanding sovereign eurobonds, totalling $115 billion. This follows a …

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EM Debt: 2019 review and 2020 outlook

2019 proved to be a spectacular year for returns in most asset classes and emerging market debt was no exception. Returns were driven by a combination of cheaper valuations to begin with and also helped by the market-wide U-turn in going from pricing in Fed hikes to cuts and by the subsequent US rate rally. Some key risks were also priced out as the year moved on, including the US-China trade …

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Is China really a currency manipulator?

Last night, the US Treasury designated China as a currency manipulator. This has occurred a few times in the past, most recently in 1994. Though China has been on the Treasury’s watch list for some time (alongside several other countries), given that the most recent Treasury report published in May did not name China a manipulator, it begs the question, what has changed between then and now?

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The Case for People’s Quantitative Easing by Frances Coppola. An interview and a competition

A decade on from the Global Financial Crisis after multiple rounds of QE across the developed economies, we are stuck with mediocre growth rates, the anticipation of renewed policy easing and the prospect of yet more bond buying from the ECB.

Yet much of the academic research into the impact of QE suggests there are diminishing returns from successive bouts of bond purchasing. It also seems…

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The changing nature of market liquidity – understanding banks’ corporate bond inventory

When looking at the risk premium embedded in the extra return you receive in owning corporate debt versus “risk free” governments, one of the factors that we have to take into account is the less liquid nature of corporate bonds. This adds to the potential risk premium from a liquidity and transaction cost perspective. A constant theme since the financial crisis has been the belief that the cra…

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It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day. The ECB takes baby steps towards QE

Just when you thought the Fed had well and truly killed the carry trade, a surprisingly dovish Mario Draghi reminded markets yesterday that Europe remains a very different place from the US. Having previously argued that the ECB never pre commits to forward guidance, yesterday marks something of a volte-face. ‘The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lowe…

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