Something strange is happening in the global economy right now

Everyone seems to be focussing on the equity markets recently, but equity markets haven’t really moved much over the past one month. Over the past month, major equity markets have lost between 1.5% to 4%.

The real action is in bonds and commodities. And trade seems to be flourishing too.

10-year government bond yields of major economies are lower by 5% to 40% (in relative terms not absolute terms) in just the past month. 10-year German bonds are down 12 bps over the past month. That wouldn’t sound much but they are down 28% from 42 bps to 30 bps. U.K. yields are down 8%, U.S. yields down 5%, Japanese yields down 40%. Even Greek yields are down 20% over just the past month. Does the market anticipate a pause in interest rate rises? It would appear so.

Continue reading “Something strange is happening in the global economy right now”

This is what is likely to happen when the European Central Bank ends bond buying

The European Central Bank (ECB) announced on Wednesday that it will halve its bond buys to 15 billion Euros (from the current 30 billion Euros) a month from October then shut the programme at the end of the year.

Source: European Central Bank

ECB’s balance sheet has increased by 2 trillion Euros since 2015 when it announced its bond buying programme. 2-year yields for most of the Eurozone countries are currently negative and 10-year yields in most cases are lower than that of the United States. The European Central Bank (ECB) is by far the biggest holder of European bonds and the biggest (almost 90%) buyer of the weaker Eurozone (Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece) countries debt since 2015. The ECB balance sheet is now over 4.5 trillion Euros, some 45% of Eurozone GDP.

Continue reading “This is what is likely to happen when the European Central Bank ends bond buying”

Do economic fundamentals matter anymore? Part 3 of 3

Do economic fundamentals matter today? We look at the strange market conditions today. We are living in truly interesting times …

Read Part 1
Read Part 2

Super low Government bond yields

Government bond yields have never been lower with 2-year yields for most of Europe currently negative. The European Central Bank (ECB) is by far the biggest holder of European bonds and the biggest (almost 90%) buyer of the weaker Eurozone (Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece) countries debt since 2015. The ECB balance sheet is now over 4.5 trillion Euros, some 45% of Eurozone GDP.

Even 10-year yields for Japan and Switzerland are barely positive.

Yields on government bonds for all maturities over 3 months have never been lower in the history of the world .

Some 80% of 10-year Japanese government bonds are held by the Bank of Japan. And apparently there are days when no one trades those 10-year bonds because there is no point of trading it. Why? Well, because the Bank of Japan has a policy to control yield curves and since they hold majority of it there are hardly any price movements.

Continue reading “Do economic fundamentals matter anymore? Part 3 of 3”

Can the UK Government afford higher interest rates or rising bond yields?

We recently wrote about the impact of rising interest rates for UK households, read more about it here. We also wrote about the impact of higher bond yields for the US government, read more about it here.

Impact of higher interest rates for the UK Government

The UK government has around £1.72 trillion in debt and pays around £36 billion in interest payments a year (an effective interest rate of 2%).

The UK tax revenues are around £800 billion a year, which would mean 4.5% of all tax revenues are paid as interest. The UK has paid £540 billion in interest since it last ran a surplus in 2001.

Continue reading “Can the UK Government afford higher interest rates or rising bond yields?”

US and emerging market bond yields soar; UK retail; US Student debt; German GDP

US and emerging market bond yields

The US 10-year bond yield soared to 3.09% today (up 75 bps over the past year and 25 bps over the past month), the highest since 2011. The 2-year yield hit 2.59%, the highest since August 2008 (read more here on the financial impact of rising yields for the US Government).

The bigger story is of emerging markets though. Brazilian and Indian 10-year yields have soared 33 bps in just a week. The Brazilian 10-year bond yield topped 10.12% while the Indian 10-year bond yield topped 7.91%. The US dollar has gained 7% against the Brazilian Real and 4% against the Indian Rupee over the past month.

Canadian bond yields are soaring the most amongst developed nations with the 10-year yield hitting 2.51%, up 94 bps over the past year and 24 bps over the past month. Continue reading “US and emerging market bond yields soar; UK retail; US Student debt; German GDP”

Iran trade with the US and Europe; Euro area consumer credit growth; Almost 3% coupon on 10-year Treasury bond; US yield curve inversion vs Euro area curve yield inversion

So, the US exits the Iran nuclear deal. The business impact of it?

Not much at all for the US. But a very major impact for Europe.

US exports to Iran
2015 exports were $282 million, 2016 were down to $172 million and 2017 were further down to $138 million

Iran exports to the US
Just $64 million in 2017

European exports to Iran
€10.8 billion ($12.80 billion) in 2017, has grown 10-fold since 2015

Iran exports to Europe
€10.14 billion ($12.02 billion) in 2017, has grown 10-fold since 2015 Continue reading “Iran trade with the US and Europe; Euro area consumer credit growth; Almost 3% coupon on 10-year Treasury bond; US yield curve inversion vs Euro area curve yield inversion”

Highlights from April 2018

Here are highlights from April 2018,

Our three most read posts in April 2018

1. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) spent the most as a company on lobbying. Facebook’s spend on lobbying increased 5500% since 2009. They spent most lobbying on changes to … data privacy (Click here to read).

2. This is what has happened to the unemployment rate in the US four to eight months before every recession since the 1940s and why it matters now (Click here to read).

3. Not an April Fools’ Day joke – this really is how the US Dollar has performed against each currency of the world over the past one year (Click here to read). Continue reading “Highlights from April 2018”

Can the US government really cope with rising bond yields?

The US government has around $20.5 trillion in debt and pays around $558 billion in interest payments a year (an effective interest rate of 2.72%).

Bond yields have been rising recently in the US on the back of a strong economy. The 10-year bond yield topped 3% (up 0.66% over the past year) recently, the highest since January 2014. The 2-year bond yield topped 2.5% (up a massive 1.18% over the past year), the highest since July 2008 (Read more here). Continue reading “Can the US government really cope with rising bond yields?”

US 10-year bond yield over 3% as Greece 10-year bond yield falls below 4%; US 2-year bond yield hits 2.5%

US bond yields have soared recently with the 10-year bond yield hitting 3% today (up 0.66% over the past year), the highest since January 2014. The 2-year bond yield topped 2.5% (up a massive 1.18% over the past year), the highest since July 2008. Meanwhile, the Greece 10-year bond yield was lower than 4%, closing at 3.99% (down 2.45% over the past year), the lowest since 2005. Continue reading “US 10-year bond yield over 3% as Greece 10-year bond yield falls below 4%; US 2-year bond yield hits 2.5%”