Tag Archives:

corporate bonds

Does the U.S. yield curve predict wider credit spreads? Also, goodbye to Hamish Watson

As the U.S. yield curve flattened to just 45 bps (2s-10s) last week, we dug out something I wrote back in 2007, in the early days of this blog.  A chart that accompanied the blog showed that a) U.S. BBB credit spreads had hit their tightest level for nearly 3 decades and b) that the yield curve had flattened substantially (and in fact inverted).  If you pushed the yield curve shape chart 18 mon…

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A tale of two bonds – diverging fortunes for GKNLN 22s and 32s

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – to phrase it in a Dickensian way – for bonds of British automotive and aerospace components company GKN. After Melrose Industries, an investment firm specialised in turnarounds of manufacturing businesses, had made an unsolicited takeover bid for GKN on 8th January, GKNLN 3.375 05/12/32s have enjoyed capital gains of 1.7%, whereas the cash p…

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Did the ECB get their fingers burned with Steinhoff bonds?

Credit risk is real. It’s easy to forget this platitude in times when both investment grade and high yield credit markets go from strength to strength. Even one of Europe’s foremost credit investors – the European Central Bank (ECB) – has recently been reminded that there is indeed the risk of permanent loss of capital when buying corporate bonds.

Every week the ECB updates the consolidated lis…

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Is it time for the Bank of England to sell corporate bonds back to the market?

On August 4th last year, the Bank of England announced a series of easing measures in response to the Brexit referendum results. They were very concerned regarding a potential slowdown and collapse in both the economy and corporate confidence and so implemented a variety of measures; reducing interest rates, increasing liquidity lines for banks, and reintroducing their gilt and corporate bond p…

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Which bonds have benefitted most from the ECB’s corporate bond buying programme?

European investment grade (IG) corporate bond spreads are now more than 40 basis points tighter than in early March 2016, before the European Central Bank (ECB) announced the expansion of its quantitative easing programme into the € IG corporate bond space. The technical tailwind provided by monthly bond purchases to the tune of around €7.5 billion from June onwards under the ECB’s corporate se…

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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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A wrap up of 2016 bond and currency market performance

Turning back the clock to the first week of 2016, fears of a Chinese slowdown and the Federal Reserve beginning to normalise rates hit stock markets hard. By Valentine’s Day bond yields had fallen to – what was then – all-time lows.  But we hadn’t seen anything yet. Ongoing ECB QE, Brexit, UK QE, novel Japanese monetary policy, president-elect Trump and ECB tapering. In a year of political and …

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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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Volatility for U.S. hospital bonds ahead

As the rhetoric of the U.S. presidential race heats up over the summer campaigning months, one topic we are likely to hear much on is health care.  Health care in the U.S. is always a highly charged political subject, and now even more so with extra scrutiny on prescription drug prices and continued debates over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare.  Obamacare is deeply unpopular with the…

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Should the Bank of England start buying sterling corporate bonds again?

When the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee meets next week, the market expects that they will cut rates, especially now that even outgoing hawk, Martin Weale (who has been at the Bank for 71 meetings so far, and voted to hike 12 times, and to hold 59 times) says that he will support a reduction.  A resumption of the Funding for Lending (FLS) scheme is also a possibility (many economis…

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