There has long been a well-known ‘wedge’ in the UK index linked bond market, since the bonds pay RPI and the Bank of England targets CPI. The wedge is the difference between these two price indices, and over the long term is thought to be approximately 1%. So over the long term, and with all sorts of caveats, RPI will be around 1% higher than CPI. The reasons for the wedge are essentially that …Read the article
If at the beginning of 2014 you had made a list of what you thought would be the best performing fixed income asset classes globally for the coming year, it’s very unlikely you’d have put UK index-linked gilts at the top. It’s probably even less likely that you’d have put Argentina’s (hard currency) bond market in second place, especially if you had been told that Argentina would default in 201…Read the article
Higher agricultural commodity prices at the start of the year raised concerns about the impact these could have on retail food prices, should the trend prove persistent. Fortunately, the price of soft commodities (coffee, sugar, wheat etc) appears to have decoupled from that of hard commodities (gold, silver, platinum etc) in recent months. Indeed, data from the last seven quarters indicate tha…Read the article
Today we are launching the next wave of the M&G YouGov Inflation Expectations Survey which aims to assess consumer expectations of inflation over the short and medium term.
With interest rates at multi century lows, central banks continue to inject large amounts of monetary stimulus into the global economy. Recent inflation rates in the US, UK and Germany have proved central to the current mark…Read the article
With the UK’s 2% CPI inflation target having now been exceeded for 39 consecutive months, last week’s budget formally acknowledged the on-going situation and changed the Bank of England’s remit.
Although chancellor George Osborne maintains that medium-term price stability represents “an essential pre-requisite for economic prosperity”, the updated remit simultaneously introduces the concept of …Read the article
Today has seen the release of the decision by the National Statistician about what to do with the Retail Prices Index. We were told of the consultation in September last year, and were presented with 4 options, ranging from 1) to do nothing, to 4) to make RPI as much like CPI as possible.
Our view was always that the consultation arose as a result of the desire to correct an error made in the c…Read the article
Over the last few weeks we have witnessed a meaningful bounce in inflation breakevens in the UK, Europe and the US. When breakevens are rising, it is a signal that the fixed income market is anticipating higher inflation than has been priced in. It also means that index linked bonds are outperforming conventional bonds. In the UK, the linker gilt of 2016 has outperformed the conventional gilt b…Read the article
UK CPI inflation jumped from 4.0% to 4.5%, versus expectations of only a slight increase to 4.1%. Core CPI, which strips out food and energy prices, soared from 3.2% to 3.7% and is now at easily a record high (data goes back to 1997). One bank called the inflation numbers shocking, arguing other economies aren’t seeing anything like this surge in core inflation, UK monetary policy is too loos…Read the article
The financial crisis is resulting in the authorities, the public, and investment managers seeing things they did not expect to see. Today’s headline RPI level of 5.5% is a record 5% above the Bank of England base rate of 0.5%, resulting in a negative real interest rate (base rate – RPI) of -5%. This is the most divergent I’ve seen this in my 25 years in the city (see chart).
The bond bears th…Read the article
This week RPI broke through 5% and CPI broke through 4%. The media are almost universally calling for rate hikes, politicians are starting to voice their opinions loudly, and many investors are worried.
If the market reacts to higher inflation by pricing in more rate hikes, that’s bad news for gilts and index-linked gilts. But for investors such as us who are trading so-called breakeven strate…Read the article