High yield floating rate note case study – an oasis of calm within the desiccated desert of duration

We’ve seen a swift and rapid re-pricing of the bund curve in recent weeks, highlighting again the risk to capital that bond investors face when yields start to rise. All major bond markets in Europe have been impacted to some degree. Nevertheless one corner of the bond market has remained very resilient: floating rate notes.

We have highlighted before how these instruments have some potentially…

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The US unemployment report: challenging the payroll consensus

The US unemployment report for April highlighted the continuation of the economic recovery. The market is now in the habit of viewing a job creation number of anything less than 200,000 as a weak result for the labour market and anything more than 300,000 as a strong result. Anything in between and the conclusion amongst economists is this: the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is on hold, e…

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The downside of bonds

Government bond yields are extremely low across the globe. The highly unusual phenomenon of negative bond yields – even on debt issued by countries that still face a debt crisis – is now commonplace. In addition, investors are looking to protect themselves from the carnage in bond markets we have seen in recent weeks  (for example, the “risk-free” German 2.5% 2046 bond is down -19% since the hi…

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Last week: the election, the abolition of physical money, and how Tesla’s new battery is going to change the world and save us from a future zombie apocalypse

Here are a few quick thoughts about things that happened last week.

First, the UK election and the failure of the opinion polls. Ahead of the General Election we met with several of the big opinion pollsters, and even ran a Bond Vigilantes x Politics event featuring Anthony Wells of YouGov. Without exception they highlighted how unusual it was that, whilst the Conservatives appeared to be neck …

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Negative interest rates in European ABS

Negative interest rates have become increasingly prevalent in Europe owing to the expansionary monetary policy measures with a number of central banks implementing negative base rates (Switzerland, and Sweden). Two weeks ago 3 month Euribor, (the reference rate for the majority of Pan-European Asset-Backed Securities (ABS)), followed 1 month Euribor (largely the preserve of most European Auto A…

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Five reasons EM debt is attractive

The consensus view on the outlook for Emerging Market (EM) bonds is bearish. Many point to risks posed by a Fed rate hike, falling commodity prices, possible Grexit and a slowing China as reasons to reduce investment allocations to the asset class. However, there is a solid investment case for EM debt at this point in time for those willing to have a closer look.

Firstly, geopolitical events ap…

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Inflation Surprises – what’s driving the current increases in market- and survey-based indicators of inflation expectations?

(blog originally posted on www.bruegel.org)

Euro area consumer price inflation, as measured by the HICP, continues to undershoot the ECB’s target of “close to, but below 2%”, currently at -0.1% in March. While it is still too early to tell if the ECB QE programme launched on March 9 will manage to bring back inflation towards the target in the medium term, a look at market- and survey-based inf…

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Greece, the currency vigilantes and the Expulso solution

It has been a while since we have discussed the economics of the single currency, but once again the issue of its suitability for all its members is at the forefront of economic concerns, as Greece faces some difficult decisions.

The financial crisis has taught us a number of lessons: fiscal policy works, monetary policy works, better regulation is beneficial for the financial sector, confidenc…

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What are index-linked corporate bonds telling us at the moment?

When in past years I have fielded calls from bankers faintly like Chad ‘Ace’ Jefferson III (A Brave New World: Zero Yield Corporate Bonds) requesting any potential interest in new index-linked corporate bond issues, I have often begun my feedback by pointing to an old maxim. This well-known dogma posits that an index-linked corporate bond should price 25 basis points or so wider than a comparab…

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Explaining the collapse in global inflation rates – step forward China

We’ve been worried for years about the prospect of a sharp slowdown in China and the knock on implications for those countries and companies that have grown reliant on a strong China over the last decade, namely commodity exporters, some emerging markets, and particularly emerging market commodity exporters (eg see If China’s economy rebalances and growth slows, as it surely must, then who’s sc…

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