Category Archives:

US

Can bond markets digest the huge supply of U.S. Treasuries that will be issued this year?

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…

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Is this a turning point for bonds?

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 …

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Cross currency basis – what is it? And what are the implications?

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…

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Are debt markets and rating agencies giving M&A too much credit?

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…

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Financial conditions suggest the case for more hawkish Fed than inflation dynamics would suggest

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…

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Debt ceiling tremors in the Treasury market

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…

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A problem with U.S. average hourly earnings, and why it may be understating the true picture

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…

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The Israeli Shekel: Flying under the radar

Though the recent US Treasury report did not name any country as a currency manipulator (see more details on this in Mario’s blog), the monitoring list centres on larger economies that meet the following criteria:

  1. The country has a significant bilateral trade surplus with the United States defined as more than USD 20 billion.
  2. The country has a current account surplus of at least 3% of GDP and …

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Is a telecom acquisition spree set to kick off in the U.S.?

Last week, the U.S. Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announced the results of the latest $20 billion, 600Mhz spectrum auction. Communication companies were bidding for spectrum over which they provide wireless services to their customers.  The largest bids came from wireless mobile operator, T-Mobile USA, which spent $8 billion, and U.S. satellite TV provider DISH Network, which spent $6….

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