Reuters blog archive

from Global Investing:

The people buying emerging markets

We've written (most recently here) about all the buying interest that emerging markets have been getting from once-conservative investors such as pension funds and central banks. Last year's taper tantrum, caused by Fed hints about ending bond buying, did not apparently deter these investors . In fact, as mom-and-pop holders of mutual funds rushed for the exits,  there is some evidence pension and sovereign  wealth  funds actually upped emerging allocations, say fund managers. And requests-for-proposals (RFPs) from these deep-pocketed investors are still flooding in,  says Peter Marber, head of emerging market investments at Loomis Sayles.

The reasoning is yield, of course, but also recognition that there is a whole new investable universe out there, Marber says:

There has been so much yield compression that to get the returns investors are accustomed to, they have to either go down in credit quality or look overseas. Investors have been globalizing their equity portfolios for 25 years but the bond portfolios still have a home bias. We are starting to see more and more institutional investors gain exposure to emerging markets, and a large number of recent RFPs highlight more sophisticated mandates than a decade ago.

The allocation swing has been especially marked since the 2008 crisis and subsequent Fed money printing that flattened yields across developed markets - the IMF estimated earlier this year that of the half trillion dollars that flowed to emerging bonds between 2010-2013, 80 percent came from big institutional investors.

from Breakingviews:

Banco Espirito Santo could lure periphery bulls

By Neil Unmack

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Euro zone periphery bulls should be eyeing up Banco Espirito Santo. The troubled Portuguese bank’s shares were at one point down 20 percent on July 15, and it needs capital to stabilise itself. For hedge funds looking to profit from Europe’s banking recapitalisation, or an acquisitive bank, this is the moment to pounce.

from Global Investing:

Emerging markets; turning a corner

Emerging markets have been attracting healthy investment flows into their stock and bond markets for much of this year and now data compiled by consultancy CrossBorder Capital shows the sector may be on the cusp of decisively turning the corner.

CrossBorder and its managing director Michael Howell say their Global Liquidity Index (GLI) -- a measure of money flows through world markets -- showed the sharpest improvement in almost three years in June across emerging markets. That was down to substantially looser policy by central banks in India, China and others that Howell says has moved these economies "into a rebound phase".

from Counterparties:

Inflated worries

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After the European Central Bank’s July meeting Thursday, Mario Draghi announced the central bank would maintain its historically low interest rates — a 0.15% main lending rate and -0.1% on funds deposited at the ECB — to try to get inflation up to 2% from the current 0.5%. Draghi reiterated the ECB’s stance on quantitative easing: it’s in the toolbox, but it’s not coming out yet. Despite a report released last week by the Bank for International Settlements that urged austerity and higher interest rates, central bankers from Draghi to Janet Yellen to the Bank of England’s Jon Cunliffe seem united in their desire to keep rates low and push consumer prices higher.

David Wessel thinks the central bankers’ logic goes something like this: “There may come a day when our worries about financial stability will prompt us to hike interest rates, but rates are ‘the last line of defense.’ Not now.” That said, Wessel is skeptical about Yellen’s preferred methods to ensure stability — macroprudential tools (regulations, mostly) that attempt to guard against system-wide risk before crises can happen. They haven’t been tried enough for us to predict their success, he says, but he welcomes the bankers’ reluctance to raise rates quickly. The Economist points out that while some markets, such as housing in London, are starting to look frothy and overvalued again, “the excesses are still small, compared with those that brought down the global economy in 2007.” Since the eurozone economy is barely growing, raising interest rates “could push the economy back into recession and turn inflation to deflation.”

from MacroScope:

U.S. hiring may be rebounding, but wage growth is not

AThe U.S. job market has finally turned a corner. What is remarkable is that it has taken so long.

Companies have finally begun taking on staff in consistently greater numbers, half a decade after the end of a deep recession brought on by one of the most punishing financial crises in history.

from Breakingviews:

Diagnosis of economic malaise lacks credible cure

By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Central bankers know what’s wrong with the world economy, but are struggling to come up with a cure. That, at least, is the message from the latest annual report from the Bank for International Settlements. It worries that global growth is feeble and financial markets are piling up risks. Yet its proposed remedies of tighter monetary policy and structural reform are far from convincing.

from Counterparties:

Carney in control

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Today, Bank of England governor Mark Carney announced two new rules implemented by the BoE to curb the possible risk of a UK housing bubble. Only 15 percent of new home loans made by mortgage lenders can be made at 4.5 times above the borrower’s income. Banks also “must decline loans to borrowers who fail a new stress test that assumes an immediate 3 percentage-point increase in the benchmark rate,” says Bloomberg’s Ben Moshinsky.

Earlier this month, the IMF warned the UK that rising housing prices and low economic growth posed a threat to the country’s economy, although Chief Secretary to the UK Treasury Danny Alexander told Bloomberg earlier this week that “people shouldn’t get carried away with the scale of the problem.”

from The Great Debate UK:

Could Mark Carney learn a thing or two from Luis Suarez?

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney smiles as he waits deliver a public speech "One Mission. One Bank. Promoting the good of the people of the United Kingdom" at the Cass Business School in London, March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Sang Tan/Pool

Uruguay's Luis Suarez (R) reacts after clashing with Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal June 24, 2014.  REUTERS/Tony Gentile








In the aftermath of Liverpool and Uruguay footballer Luis Suarez biting an opponent yet again, and with such aggression that he scarred the player's arm and hurt his own teeth, FIFA has banned him for nine games, and psychologists are trying to justify his behaviour by saying that Suarez must have been humiliated and frustrated in his youth. I, in contrast, am asking whether Mark Carney and co. should learn to be a little more like Suarez?

Let me make this clear, I am not advocating that members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee give each other a good bite if they disagree on policy (imagine the bite marks at the ECB if that was socially acceptable), but they should metaphorically pull a few Suarez’s from time to time.

from Breakingviews:

Can sterling hit $2? Only with a perfect storm

By Swaha Pattanaik

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own. 

Sterling has touched $1.70 and is on the brink of bursting ranges which have confined it for five years. Could a resurgent pound return to pre-crisis levels of $2?

from Breakingviews:

Triple financial mystery remains unsolved

By Edward Hadas

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The world of finance is ensnared in a triple mystery: falling bond yields, falling inflation and rising debt. The ignorance is dangerous.