Here is the 8th annual Christmas Quiz. 20 questions, and the closing date for entries is midday on Tuesday 23rd December. Please email your answers to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will get to choose a charity to which we will donate £200. He or she will also get a copy of “Anger is an Energy”, John Lydon’s new autobiography. Four runners up will also get a copy of the book. Good…Read the article
I was in Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago to find out more about the Chinese corporate bond market. To start with it’s huge, and growing rapidly. But it comes with some well-known challenges – the large weighting towards property debt, the lack of information about issuers (ratings tend to be done only by the domestic ratings agency), and perhaps most worryingly the issue of structural subordina…Read the article
It has finally happened: the DMO has elected to call and refinance the 3 ½% War Loan, which at almost £2bn in size is by far the largest perpetual gilt outstanding. We’ve been banging on about this for years (see comment from 2011 here), and Jim is worried he hasn’t got anything to write about anymore. Jim typed up a few thoughts after the much smaller 4% Consol was called in October, here are …Read the article
Last week, Sky’s Ed Conway came in to talk about his brilliant book “The Summit”, the story behind the Bretton Woods conference that tried to organise the structure of the global economy in the aftermath of the Second World War, and enshrined the dominance of the US dollar as the world’s currency.
The conference took place as the war was still raging, both in Europe in the weeks after D-Day, a…Read the article
There is a lot of debate surrounding the future of China’s economy. There are the pessimists, who will cite the inevitable collapse of a debt-powered housing bubble. There are others that say these concerns are overblown and that despite slowing, China is still the world’s second largest economy and its growth rate is far superior than anything seen in the developed world.
From time to time we…Read the article
Emerging market (“EM”) corporate bonds are a fast-growing segment of the fixed income market. The hard-currency (USD, EUR, GBP and CHF) EM bond market has doubled in size since 2010 and is now worth over $1.3 trillion – which makes it as big as the US high-yield market. Including local-currency bonds, the Bank of International Settlements estimated that the EM corporate bond market was worth ne…Read the article
One of the many unintended consequences of structurally low interest rates over the past few years has been the emergence of mini-bonds in the UK. These are typically non-tradable debt instruments issued by companies directly to individual investors*. We’ve commented before on one such bond issued by Chilango, a London based vendor of Mexican food, and highlighted some of the risks relative to …Read the article
As you know, we’ve always been fascinated by the UK’s War Loans and have written about them repeatedly on this blog (here’s what we wrote in 2011 when we suggested that they should be redeemed). Bonds and war go together hand in hand, and for most of history rising government debt levels have been directly caused by the cost of financing conflicts, or the reparations afterwards. The several out…Read the article
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
Halloween is around the corner and that can only mean one thing… scary chart time. Every year around this time, we highlight economic variables and statistics that could give central bankers nightmares. If stuff like non-performing loans, bad forecasts and big numbers scare you then it is probably time to turn off your computer screen and forget you ever saw this blog. The following is not for …Read the article