Perspectives Blog

Interest rates in a highly indebted economy

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | October 13, 2014

…is no fixed cap on the level of interest rates. Any increase in interest rates must be consistent with tolerable debt service ratios, the existing stock of debt and private sector savings. It’s in this context where Fed officials’ delicate approach to the exit process looks most understandable. The deleveraging constraint Last week the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. households’ mortgage debt service ratio—the share of disposable income dedic…

Credit alternatives in government-backed debt

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 23, 2014

One way investors may boost yields without taking on undue credit risk is through U.S. government agency debt. While many investors associate U.S. agency debt with very low yields, other types of agency debt can offer significant spreads to Treasuries with a modest decline in liquidity. We have been increasing our allocation to the agency market in core portfolios as a way to reduce credit risk while maintaining competitive yields. By Carl W….

Is Europe heading for Japanese-style deflation?

Martin Harvey, Fund Manager, Threadneedle International Ltd | August 4, 2014

…at caused a steep drop in economic activity in the wake of the Lehman collapse, while the onset of the sovereign debt crisis later played a part. The scale of the initial drop in the Eurostoxx index was similar to that seen in Japan in the early 1990s (Exhibit 1). On the surface, it appears that the Europeans are adopting correct policies as the Eurostoxx index has surged over the past year, and broken above the levels reached prior to the debt c…

How bad is China’s credit crisis?

Weili Jasmine Huang, Senior Portfolio Manager | February 3, 2014

We look at the scope and impact of China’s credit crisis We believe the possibility of a financial meltdown is low We discuss how resolution of the crisis may unfold News of a trust product on the brink of default has deepened the concerns of increasing instability of China’s financial system. The risk of defaults on trust and wealth management products will likely continue to impact markets. We believe that the shadow banking issue will…

Comments on the effect on global markets from the Ukraine crisis

Mark Burgess, Chief Investment Officer, Threadneedle Investments | March 12, 2014

To date, the fallout from the Ukrainian crisis has been largely confined to the emerging market debt, emerging market equity and commodity markets. At current levels, emerging market local currency debt appears to offer value, although we expect both the hard and local currency markets to remain volatile in the short term. Emerging equities reflect concerns not only around Russia and Ukraine but also the weaker growth outlook in Brazil and China…

The role of income inequality

March 3, 2014

…olds were more easily able to boost their spending until a tipping point was reached during the global financial crisis. Most studies now point to the lack of income growth for the bottom 95% of the income distribution in combination with an unsustainable rise in borrowing as a causal factor that escalated the crisis. Debt levels relative to income escalated during the same period, but more perilously for the bottom 95% (see Exhibit 2). Debt is m…

Half-time report on the U.S. consumer

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | July 28, 2014

U.S. consumers have taken a more cautious attitude toward debt and been more selective about using it for discretionary purchases. With consumers using credit cards less and using debit cards much more, the supports for higher discretionary spending are keyed off income and wages and also employment. With low debt use and income growth holding back consumption and demand, households will require stronger job growth and real wage gains to accele…