Perspectives Blog

Detroit’s collateral damage

Ty Schoback, Senior Municipal Analyst | October 24, 2013

The State of Michigan’s failure to preserve the integrity of the General Obligation (GO) pledge in Detroit has greatly undermined the market’s confidence in debt issued within Michigan. It has also resulted in increased borrowing costs for other Michigan entities. The State communicated to investors the UTGO security pledge of local governments should not be considered any stronger than a basic appropriation or lease, raising significant concer…

Is Europe heading for Japanese-style deflation?

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

…n and Ireland, this was not the root cause of the problem. Initially, it was Europe’s exposure to global trade that 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 polic…

Detroit bankruptcy — One year later

Ty Schoback, Senior Municipal Analyst | August 18, 2014

…e bankruptcy has yielded significant insights for municipal market participants. The first being a lesson in understanding exactly what a G.O. pledge is, and more importantly, what it is not. There are many variations of G.O. debt, which necessitates a thorough case-by-case assessment. In Michigan, UTGO bondholders settled with the city for a recovery of 74% of par. While this outcome would not set precedent, as it is a settlement, not a court ru…

Puerto Rico’s turbulent ride

Michael Taylor, Senior Municipal Analyst | September 26, 2013

…Puerto Rico’s persistently struggling economy and detailing widespread mutual fund exposure to Puerto Rico bonds, spreads widened considerably, with yields on longer-dated triple-tax-exempt Puerto Rico General Obligation (GO) debt trading in excess of 10% (from 7%) at times. Exacerbated by industry-wide mutual fund outflows, and perhaps some forced-selling, 2013 has proven to be the worst year for Puerto Rico bonds in over a decade. According to…

Global market mid-year outlook

Mark Burgess, Chief Investment Officer, Threadneedle Investments | June 16, 2014

Overall macroeconomic picture in U.S. should push bond yields higher, particularly if the Fed stops its QE program later this year. We remain positive on emerging market debt while maintaining a bias against emerging market equities. Overall equity markets have been strong and current index levels suggest that investors still have confidence in the outlook for profits. Global equities and global bonds made progress in May with the former outpa…

Missing links and multipliers

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | June 9, 2014

Several forces are colliding now and causing a downshift in the trajectory of the U.S. housing recovery. Household formations remain at multi-year lows due in large part to mediocre income and job gains in combination with high student loan debt by 25 – 45 year old homebuyers. Fewer homeowners mean missing multipliers for growth. As a result, housing will prove less of an accelerator for economic growth in the period ahead. Having witnessed a…

The role of income inequality

March 3, 2014

…e 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 merely borrowed spending from the future, and becomes particularly onerous if incomes do not ri…