Insights & News


  • Would An Independent Scotland Be In The PIIGS?

    During the 2010 euro bailouts and subsequent 2011 sovereign crisis, investors became so concerned about exposure to the euro bailout countries of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, that the acronym ‘PIIGS’ was coined. The most common question in meetings I had with investors during that period was “What is your PIIGS exposure?”. Is it now time for the membership of PIIGS to change? It might just be, for two […]

  • The Problem With Portugal

    Whilst 2016 will certainly go down as one of the best years on record for government bond markets, that performance has not been universal across geographies. As we can see from the graph below, the generic 10 year yields have fallen aggressively everywhere, except for Portugal where they have actually increased. Source: Bloomberg This is not a peripheral versus core story either, as Spain, Italy and Ireland have all seen their […]

  • FOMC Surprise

    As I am sure everyone will now know, the Fed showed their independence last night and (contrary to the strong consensus) kept their $85bn of monthly asset purchases in place – for the time being at least. Many articles have been written this morning justifying this stance given the sluggish growth, lack of inflationary pressures and stubborn levels of unemployment, but the market had been almost unanimous in the expectation […]

  • Greek Government Continues To Make Sovereign Uninvestable

    After yet another day of seemingly useless discussions between Greece and its creditors, I am definitely suffering from crisis fatigue. When we first heard the pledges in the Syriza manifesto at the end of last year we determined that Greece under a Syriza leadership was going to be completely uninvestable. Despite sympathising with the poor Greeks on a couple of economic points, such as having to run a surplus when […]

  • Can Greece Not Pay the IMF?

    Looking at the calendar of events ahead for Greece the next major one that markets are focussing on is Monday, when Greece is due to present its latest reform list to the Eurogroup. This is then due to be reviewed and debated on Friday 24th April, at the Eurozone Finance Ministers meeting in Riga. However, we are not expecting a miraculous solution from this meeting, or even a fudge, which […]

  • The Portfolio Effects of the ECB’s QE

    A lot of the commentary on the ECB’s new public sector QE programme has been quite sensational. Is it good, is it bad, will it create a bubble, will it actually work, is it legal? What I would like to cover in this short(ish) note, is what the effects of this programme will be on fixed income portfolios. Normally a central bank uses monetary policy as its core tool to […]

  • Greece Reverses European Integration

    During the summer and autumn of 2011, when the European sovereign debt crisis was raging its worst, EU leaders were meeting almost every week trying to make sufficient progress for markets to call off the attack on peripheral yields. Their work was never quite enough and always just a little too late, or so it seemed at the time. Ultimately though a great deal of progress was made, despite inevitably […]

  • Portugal Through Treasuries is Still Cheap

    There has been a lot of talk in the last 24 hours on the continued rally in peripheral sovereign bond yields. The latest revelation is that Portugal 10 year yields are now lower than 10 year US Treasury yields. This comes after first Ireland, then Spain, then Italy all did the same thing. Ireland for reference now trades at 0.78% in 10 years versus the US at 2.04%. Where Euro […]

  • Political Timelines

    With so much going on in Europe we thought it would be useful to summarise the key events that need to happen in the next month or two. Obviously it’s a highly fluid situation and things can change, so we will just focus on the milestones. Greece There will not be a referendum re: the new aid package. A new interim government is being formed. Prime Minister George Papandreou will […]

  • UK Current Account

    A couple of weeks ago the ONS published its quarterly Balance of Payments Statistical Bulletin. The report did not generate many headlines but we think it contains some interesting data that is worth keeping in mind about the UK’s current account deficit. A sovereign’s current account records the flow of goods and services and international income receipts or payments of that country with the rest of the world. These are […]





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