Tag Archives:


2015-11 blog AR 1

Is there still slack in the US labour market?

We have often blogged about the current tightness in the US labour market; in particular the initial jobless claims number as a percentage of the working age population being at all-time lows.  The Fed too has recently produced indicators to tell a similar tale; looking at unconventional unemployment proxies – such as the insured unemployment rate in this recent post – suggests that labour mark…

Read the article

Chicago research trip video: Tight labour markets and crisis-like corporate bond valuations

It has been a while since we last uploaded a video from one of our U.S. research trips. The question we asked in March as to whether the Fed would hike interest rates this year or not has still not been conclusively answered. Although a 2015 hike is not completely off the table, as we are entering the final two months of the year it seems a lot less likely than it did back then. Nonetheless, fr…

Read the article
15.10.28 blog RW1

The real data – the Phillips curve is alive and well

One of the first rules of economics is that the equilibrium market price is generated by relative supply and demand. Limited supply or excess demand should result in an increase in price. One of the questions that has arisen in the post financial crisis world is why have wages not increased despite unemployment heading towards historically low levels? Given the improvement in data such as headl…

Read the article
EUR IG non-financial bond issuance in 2015

The Yanks are coming: US firms are rushing to the EUR corporate bond market

Reverse Yankees, i.e., bonds issued by US entities in currencies other than USD, have become an integral part of the global investment grade (IG) corporate bond universe, particularly in the European IG space. For treasurers of US companies the issuance of EUR-denominated Reverse Yankees offers several advantages:

  1. In case a US firm reporting its results in USD has operations within the Eurozon…

Read the article
The inherent monetary policy lag

Timing the Fed Rate Hike

The graph below shows US unemployment alongside the Fed rate over a period of 45 years. From this you can observe the broad relationship between the two, specifically the time delays between Fed rate hikes and the upturn in employment which has historically followed. This time the Fed have delayed the rate hike for a number of reasons, but if history is anything to go by, we can perhaps use thi…

Read the article

The falling US unemployment rate could benefit some emerging markets

The declining unemployment rate in the US has renewed the debate on the timing and pace of monetary tightening by the Fed. While wage pressures have been muted thus far, the risk is rising that further declines of unemployment will lower the rate below non-inflationary (NAIRU) levels and prompt the Fed to start hiking.

For emerging markets, one of the main transmission mechanisms is through wea…

Read the article

Video: Jim & Mike go to NY to ask the big question. Will the Fed hike in 2015?

Have you seen the film The Day After Tomorrow? The one where U.N. officials foolishly ignore climate scientist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) and a super-storm plunges New York into a new Ice Age? Well it was colder than that last week when Mike and I made a research visit over there. With wind-chill it was a billion below. I was only able to survive by laughing at Mike forgetting to wear a hat and g…

Read the article

Operation normalise

The Fed has basically used three major themes in response to the financial crisis from a monetary point of view:

  1. Lower short term rates
  2. Quantitative easing
  3. Operation twist – an attempt to flatten the yield curve

The Fed has communicated that it now expects the first move in normalising rates as the economy recovers will be to increase short term rates. Personally I think there are other alter…

Read the article
How steep is the USD IG credit spread curve?

Is now the time to buy long-dated USD IG corporate bonds?

Credit curves are usually upwards sloping; as you’d expect, investors require more of a credit risk term premium for lending for a long time than for a short time, all else being equal. As the charts below show however, the steepness of USD IG non-financial credit curves has become rather extreme in 2014. At year end, the asset swap (ASW) spread differential between c. 25 years and c. 2 years w…

Read the article

Two devils in the US inflation detail

US inflation has been surprisingly low for a few months after a peak in May 2014. According to the latest data released in September, core CPI (i.e. excluding food & energy) stands at just 1.7% with much of this weakness caused by declining goods prices. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the average price of imports, excluding fuel, has not increased in six months. A stronger…

Read the article