Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has big plans. She dislikes the path the United States is on and wants to make fundamental changes to the economy. These plans include much tougher regulation of banks, a breakup of large ‘monopolies’ — her first sight is on technology companies — and also a healthcare system based on a single payer principle. Just under a year from the US President…Read the article
Economists usually think of “bubbles” as being negative for economies and societies. Think of the US housing bubble and its role in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis as a great example. Defining a bubble is tricky, and often its causes are difficult to explain even with the benefit of hindsight. In their paper “Bubbles in Society – the Example of the Apollo Program” Gisler & Sornette say that…Read the article
In true October fashion, both equity and bond markets recently plunged. US President Trump quickly said the US Federal Reserve (Fed) is hiking rates too fast, hurting growth. The IMF quickly answered: the Fed’s hikes are legitimate. Who’s right?
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The United States government routinely finances itself through short-term debt, which is normally less expensive than long-term debt, due to the upward sloping nature of the U.S. yield curve. This cost saving does increase the risk of default. Rollover risk arises any time short-term debt is used to finance long-term spending. It is what keeps debt management officials up at night.
The U.S. gov…Read the article
My view is that the US economy is nearer to overheating than slipping into recession. The strength of the US economy is typified by the labour market in many ways. To put some of this strength in context, look at the Challenger, Gray & Christmas Job Cut report. Last year (2017) produced an exceptionally low number of layoffs in nominal terms, and when adjusted to reflect the size of the labour …Read the article
Towards the end of this year, a December spike in the cross currency basis for major currencies against the dollar grabbed the market’s attention. But what is cross currency basis (“the basis”)?
Consider a European company taking a one year loan from its domestic local bank to fund its US operations abroad. In order to hedge the currency risk, the company enters into a one year EUR/USD currenc…Read the article
Guest contributor – Simon Duff (Credit Analyst, M&G Credit Analysis team)
Last week, International TV network operator Discovery Communications announced the US$15bn acquisition of Scripps Networks. Scripps owns TV networks focused on food, home and travel, so it fits with the factual or “non-scripted” focus of Discovery’s core networks (Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet). It also offers an oppor…Read the article
Guest contributor – Jean-Paul Jaegers, CFA, CQF (Senior Investment Strategist, Prudential Portfolio Management Group)
A lot has been written on the recent softness in US inflation data, as headline inflation pulled back, with a similar trend in core inflation. Admittedly, a number of unusual factors have partly been a driver behind this, although more importantly there is quite some persistence…Read the article
The United States is fast approaching the point at which its indebtedness reaches its debt limit, which generally is approved by Congress without debate. Routinely in the past the debt ceiling would be raised, reflecting that it does not affect the amount of spending, but only makes sure the U.S. can pay for spending it is committed to whether by tax receipts or by borrowing. It is about ensuri…Read the article
The last time the US had an unemployment rate below 5% and inflation expectations around 2%, the Fed funds rate was above 5% and had been aggressively hiked in the preceding period. Yellen’s Fed has been happy to let rates stay low amongst a tight and tightening labour market because wage growth has been lower than one would expect for a jobs market as healthy as this one. So, slow growth of wa…Read the article