16.01.18-RW-blog

The US economy is not heading for recession, as it’s not FIRING on all cylinders!

There is currently a lot of concern regarding the US economy and its ability to withstand the collapsing price of oil and mined commodities, the Chinese slowdown, and the recent quarter (yes, quarter) point rate rise – or given the current market mood, its ability to cope with a doubling of the Fed funds rate! Whilst high yield spreads are close to recessionary levels, this is skewed by the ene…

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16.01.14-ME-blog

A look at the Swiss economy a year after the currency peg break

A year ago today the Swiss National Bank (SNB) unexpectedly discontinued its CHF peg against the euro, causing huge moves in the FX markets. On the anniversary of the peg removal I thought it would be interesting to see how the Swiss economy has developed over the past twelve months.

Swiss economy robust, but not immune during 2015

The Swiss economy actually proved to be quite resilient in 2015…

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Inflation expectations at lowest level in last three years – M&G YouGov Inflation Expectations Survey Q4 2015

We recently blogged about the marked effect the collapse in commodity prices, particularly oil and energy, have had on global inflation rates across the world. Headline inflation rates in major western economies have been in, or have flirted with, deflation throughout the year in spite of ongoing economic growth and a steady recovery in labour markets.

An interesting issue is whether this, seem…

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The El Niño effect

Need motivation for your New Year diet? M&G’s cake index shows that cake is getting more expensive

I blogged in 2014 with good news for cake lovers; falling soft commodity prices indicated that the cost of baking cakes was getting cheaper.  Unfortunately (and in contrast to hard commodity prices, notably oil recently hitting new post global financial crisis lows), the final quarter of 2015 depicted a reversal in trend with soft commodity prices on the rise.

In September we discussed the pote…

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Oil is everywhere. But what matters most are the idiosyncratic stories. Within this context, it is fair to say that an emerging market bond portfolio is unlikely to be fully immune to oil. Looking into 2016, this is good news if you are bullish oil: any significant oil price increase will in most cases drive a rally in emerging market assets. If you are bearish oil, you may still find interesting investment opportunities: the Oil & Gas sector in emerging markets generated a negative return of -3.0% in 2015 but the dispersion of corporate bond returns was huge and not necessarily correlated to oil prices. For instance, the fall in Petrobras bonds was more driven by the ongoing corruption scandal in Brazil and the group’s debt levels than the actual decline in oil prices. On the other hand, despite their country exposure, PDVSA (Venezuelan state-owned oil company) or LUKOIL (Russia-based oil producer) bonds had double-digit total returns in 2015. In what might be a good lesson for 2016, it shows that in emerging markets, in many cases, macro and credit idiosyncratic stories matter more than oil.

Oil price slump is a drag on emerging markets. But wait, why?

Oil price moves and their impacts on emerging markets will continue to be a hot topic in 2016. It is true that economies which rely heavily on oil exports and fiscal revenues, such as Saudi Arabia, Russia or Venezuela, have been facing an extremely challenging macro environment with the decline in oil prices. But, overall, there are more net oil importers than exporters amongst the developing e…

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Slide4

Emerging Markets debt: 2015 returns post-mortem and 2016 outlook

Following on from Gordon’s review of the best and worst performing fixed income asset classes last year, I wanted to take a more in depth look at how emerging markets performed in 2015 and what to look out for in 2016.

Some themes that drove the market in 2015 were the same themes than drove it in 2014. Once again, asset allocation was critical. Local currency debt, for the third year running, …

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The best and worst performing fixed income asset classes of 2015

The best and worst performing fixed income asset classes of 2015

Looking back over the past year it’s evident that decent returns were much more difficult to achieve than in 2014. Within my sample of 85 different Bank of America Merrill Lynch bond indices (and as you can see from the smaller sample in the chart below) most indices fell within the -5% to 5% total return range for 2015, whereas most fell within the 5% to 15% range in 2014.

In 2014 though, mos…

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M&G Bond Vigilantes Christmas Quiz 2015 – the answers and the new champion

Thanks very much for another bumper stack of entries to the annual Christmas quiz.  This year’s winner, and new reigning champion is Jake Lewis of Morgan Stanley.  Congratulations, we will be in touch to see where you’d like the £100 charity donation to go.   You also win the Morrissey novel, as do the following brave runners up.  Gary Callow of Investec, (2014 champion) Marton Huebler of Fidel…

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Trade History for Sprint 7.875% 2023

High Yield Liquidity: 5 ways to help deal with it

Following the closure of the Third Avenue fund earlier this month, liquidity issues are once again at the forefront of investor’s minds when it comes to the high yield market. Ultimately, conditions will only improve with structural changes to the market but in the meantime we think there are several steps that can be taken to help improve the underlying liquidity profile of a high yield portfo…

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The effect of changes in oil prices on the price of one litre of petrol in the UK

Oil price fall failing to pump deflation

One of the major factors that has enabled inflation to stay low despite the economic strength in major western economies has been the fall in the price of oil. Given the huge price volatility over the past 18 months it is interesting to depict the falling influence of oil on actual end inflation.

In the UK, the most direct way that changes in the oil price affect inflation is through petrol pri…

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