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Emerging Markets: 5 key issues to watch in 2019

Emerging Markets (EM) debt had a torrid 2018 as global macro risks (including general geopolitics and trade wars), softer EM growth and idiosyncratic stories (Argentina, Turkey), all repriced relatively expensive valuations at the beginning of the year. Are the new prices a better reflection of fundamentals? This will largely depend on the evolution of 5 key topics.

  1. China-US – upside surprise…

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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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Hooray for Helicopter Ben

Helicopter Ben yesterday announced that the Fed would lend $200bn of Treasuries to banks in return for AAA rated collateral. Equity markets were delirious – the S&P recorded its biggest one day jump in over five years. Risky credit also staged a rally, but the reaction was a bit more muted. The iTraxx Europe Crossover Index, an index measuring the default risk of the most liquid European high y…

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US Treasuries : the last asset bubble?

I enjoyed this article, entitled “The Last Asset Bubble“.

US treasuries have enjoyed an incredible rally, returning 11.2% since the end of June. This has been driven by the sub-prime debacle and the Fed’s decision to cut rates from 5.25% to 3%.

Treasuries have also been supported by panicked investors fleeing from other AAA asset classes that are no longer AAA in any real sense of the word. The…

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US economy: hard landing or soft landing?

A stream of poor economic data and some horrendous writedowns from the big banks have meant that risky assets have been walloped. The iTraxx crossover has shot out from 340 to 470 since the start of the year, and most of the world’s equity markets are down between 10 and 15%.

The recent release that I’d like to focus on is last week’s Philly Fed number (or the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelph…

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