Breakingviews

Brexit is reopening euro zone sovereign wounds

June 14, 2016

France’s bond yields are rising while Germany’s are falling. It’s a warning markets may doubt the integrity of the euro zone if a UK exit triggers copycat referendums. The ECB has neither the power nor the mandate to fight the kind of extreme outcomes that could ensue.

Time for banks to go cold turkey on sovereign fix

April 18, 2016

Europe is considering tightening rules that make it easy for lenders to own government debt. Banks addicted to sovereign punts would suffer, and governments lose wiggle room. Yet reform could hasten euro area integration, while ECB bond-buying makes it a less scary prospect.

Bank CoCos deserve all the brickbats

March 18, 2016

Deutsche Bank’s John Cryan thinks new hybrid bank bonds are flawed. Market turmoil is forcing regulators to clarify when baffled investors get coupons. Yet unless there is also standardisation of when they convert from debt to equity, CoCos will always be prone to death spirals.

Deutsche makes investors offer they should refuse

February 12, 2016

The German bank is offering to buy back 5 billion euros of bonds. A big take-up means more capital for Deutsche, but could also imply a lack of confidence in the bank’s solvency. Given the potential for bond prices to snap back, it may be better for investors to sit it out.

German CDS imply bank doom loop is unbroken

February 10, 2016

Market turbulence has led investors to snap up safe German bonds, yet the cost of insuring against a Teutonic default is up. Blame a rout in Deutsche Bank shares. Until Europe’s banking union is complete, governments are the ultimate backstop if big lenders get into trouble.

Deutsche hybrids: from poster boy to problem child

February 9, 2016

The German lender has moved to reassure investors fretting about delayed coupons on its new AT1 securities, after CDS prices collapsed. Unlike hybrid forebears in 2008, AT1s should absorb losses. Yet instead of dampening volatility, the fear of a trigger is exacerbating it.

Puerto Rico exposes dearth of bond vigilantes

January 7, 2016

Tax perks and a thirst for yield meant bond buyers tolerated bad fiscal practices for years. They only seriously pushed up borrowing costs after the island’s $70 bln debt crisis became all too obvious. Foolish financial crowds had better wise up to other U.S. danger zones.

Treasury’s Puerto Rico superbond looks half baked

October 16, 2015

The U.S. territory and the federal government have discussed swapping some of the island’s $72 bln debt for a new bond paid from a Treasury-run kitty. The idea is politically fraught and may not work. It’s a poor substitute for a financial control board or Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Trading illiquidity theories lack solid ground

June 18, 2015

Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman is the latest financial bigwig to argue that the enforced shrinkage of banks’ activities is hurting liquidity so badly that it could fuel the next crisis. A look at how markets have changed – and how brokers actually behave – suggests otherwise.

Hope yet for creditors in China property-bond saga

May 28, 2015

Defaulting developer Kaisa has lost white-knight bidder Sunac. That leaves foreign bondholders dealing with the company’s discredited chairman. However, China’s real estate market is recovering. The Shenzhen-based company may even be able to hammer together a better deal.