Tag Archives | interest rates

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UK house prices slip in H2

UK housing markets followed the US lead in recent decades. Conservative and Labour governments both shared a belief in extending property ownership as widely as possible. But what neither foresaw was the ‘unintended consequence’. Their policy of boosting home ownership coincided with the entry of the BabyBoom generation (those born between 1946-70) into the 25 […]

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UK house prices begin to slip

The UK housing market has presented a confusing picture over the past 2 years. Unlike Spain, Ireland, or the USA, the lax lending conditions of the Boom years did not seem to lead to major price falls. In fact, along with Australia (benefiting from China’s commodity boom), UK prices even appeared to recover. This was […]

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Demographics boosted demand, now drives savings

The blog is very pleased to have been invited to write for today’s Financial Times. Its article looks at the influence of the Western ‘baby-boom generation’, born between 1946-70. Typically, as in the UK, the period saw a 25% jump in the number of births compared to pre-War levels. Since 1970, births have fallen back […]

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Global markets decoupled over past 6 months

The blog’s 6 monthly survey of major stock markets, now including the US 30 year Treasury bond, shows mixed performance since March: • The worst performers have been Shanghai and Tokyo, down ~12%. They are also the worst performers since the pre-Crisis peak, down ~50%. • In the middle are the US, UK, Russia and […]

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Questions to the chemical market genie

With the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve saying the outlook is “unusually uncertain“, its time to summon the chemical market genie. Of course, rubbing the lamp is not always successful. And if the genie does arrive, one can only ask 3 questions. So rather than risk wasting them, the blog has learnt to spend […]

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Baby-Boomers cut spending, start saving

Consumer spending is 70% of US GDP. And because US GDP is so large, this means the US consumer is 17% of global GDP. This is the same as the combined GDP of China and Japan, who rank 2 and 3 after the USA. So a change in US consumer spending matters. And it particularly […]

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US 3 year interest rates back to 1940′s levels

High quality 3 year government bond yields are now less than 1%, as shown in the above chart from thechartstore.com of the US Treasury market. US rates have not been this low since the 1940′s and 1950′s. This has also led to a major rally in corporate bonds, based on increasing fears of a double-dip […]

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US junk bond issue hits record as GDP slows

As noted by a blog reader last week, retail investors are throwing caution to the winds. Unwilling, or unable, to adjust their lifestyles to cope with lower interest rates on government bonds, they have rushed to instead buy higher-yielding ‘junk bonds’. These are less than normal ‘investment’ grade, and offer increased yield in exchange for […]

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Investment tip of the week

Following on from the blog’s note yesterday, an investment banker reader passed on a similar insight from the high yield sector of the bond market. Currently, retail investors are desperate for income-producing assets, with global interest rates very low by recent historical standards. So to help supply meet demand, her bank’s high yield bond team […]

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Asian stockmarkets fall on stagflation risk

I noted earlier this year that China was now exporting inflation, rather than the deflation of the past decade. Working in Asia again this week, one can see a major change in attitudes is now underway. Rising food and energy prices are having an enormous impact, and Asian governments are clearly nervous about the potential […]

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