Author profile

Wolfgang Bauer

Years in the bond markets: 5

Specialist subjects: Investment grade credit (and the mysteries of microfluidics…)

Likes: Football, scuba diving and jiangsu cuisine

Heroes: Alfred Wegener, Charles Darwin and Stanislav Petrov

The front-end of the US Treasuries curve: short and sweet?

With the notable exception of the upcoming royal wedding, it would be pretty difficult to find a topic that is currently more over-analysed than the flattening of the US Treasury yield curve. On this blog as well we have pondered potential implications for credit valuations and possible counter-measures the Fed might employ. Still, one aspect that has arguably not received enough attention in t…

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Are sovereign bond-backed securities the key to financial stability within the Eurozone?

Creating a Eurozone-wide safe asset and thus diversifying sovereign risk within the currency union without the need for sovereign debt mutualisation – sounds like having your cake and eating it, doesn’t it? Well, according to the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), sovereign bond-backed securities (SBBS) might do the trick. SBBS are merely an idea, discussed in ESRB working papers, feasibility…

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BVTV: Getting to the bottom of subordinated debt

Subordinated debt enjoyed an excellent year in 2017, AT1 (Additional Tier 1) bonds in particular. But what are the unique features of this sub-asset class and do AT1 bonds still offer value? M&G credit analyst Mark Robinson, who focuses on the banking sector, joined me this morning to explain the challenges that today’s tight spread levels potentially hold for investors.

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A tale of two bonds – diverging fortunes for GKNLN 22s and 32s

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – to phrase it in a Dickensian way – for bonds of British automotive and aerospace components company GKN. After Melrose Industries, an investment firm specialised in turnarounds of manufacturing businesses, had made an unsolicited takeover bid for GKN on 8th January, GKNLN 3.375 05/12/32s have enjoyed capital gains of 1.7%, whereas the cash p…

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Did the ECB get their fingers burned with Steinhoff bonds?

Credit risk is real. It’s easy to forget this platitude in times when both investment grade and high yield credit markets go from strength to strength. Even one of Europe’s foremost credit investors – the European Central Bank (ECB) – has recently been reminded that there is indeed the risk of permanent loss of capital when buying corporate bonds.

Every week the ECB updates the consolidated lis…

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2017 investment grade review – a rising tide lifts all boats

Let’s be honest, 2017 won’t go down in history as the most exciting year for investment grade (IG) credit markets. IG credit spreads have moved more or less in one direction only: lower and lower. Still, there are valuable lessons to be learnt. Here are our key takeaways.

Positive mood swing in Europe drove EUR IG outperformance vs USD IG.

Back in early 2017 the logic was as follows: After the…

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German unemployment rate and real GDP growth

Angela Merkel’s Pyrrhic victory

And they say German elections are boring… As the preliminary results are in, here are our three key takeaways.

(1) Merkel goes fourth

First things first, as expected Angela Merkel has won the election. Her CDU, in combination with its Bavarian sister party CSU, is going to remain the largest faction in parliament (33.0% of votes combined). All roads lead to a fourth term for her as chancellor. …

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BVTV: Time for a check-up of the US healthcare sector

Heated debates about proposals to repeal and replace Obamacare, generic pharmaceuticals feeling the pain of pressures on drug prices and lingering event risk around potential mergers and acquisitions – there are many reasons to take a closer look at the US healthcare sector right now. On my recent research trip to Chicago I discussed these and other topics with Laura Reepmeyer, Managing Directo…

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Which bonds have benefitted most from the ECB’s corporate bond buying programme?

European investment grade (IG) corporate bond spreads are now more than 40 basis points tighter than in early March 2016, before the European Central Bank (ECB) announced the expansion of its quantitative easing programme into the € IG corporate bond space. The technical tailwind provided by monthly bond purchases to the tune of around €7.5 billion from June onwards under the ECB’s corporate se…

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Eurobonds: one bond to fund them all

The German federal election in September still seems far away. However, for the first time in years, it appears possible that Angela Merkel could actually lose the election. Martin Schulz, Chancellor candidate and chairman of the Social Democratic Party, is having some early signs of success in the polls and is gaining momentum. As a result, investors in European (and UK ) debt might want to re…

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