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Monday, 11 December 2017

Upfront

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  • Solera logo

    Back from the dead (part 1)

    Reports of the LBO market’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Solera managed to place US$1.7bn of Triple C rated unsecured bonds last week, a feat that seemed close to impossible just a few weeks ago.

  • Cover image: Road to Mt.Fuji with Lake Yamanaka, Yamanashi, Japan.

    A yen for change

    Could Japanese banks be finally turning a corner after three decades of risk-aversion? On at least half a dozen measures there has been an abrupt change in mentality.

  • novo banco espirito santo bes

    Oops, they’ve done it again

    Life is simple, the saying goes, but we insist on making it complicated. Executives at the International Swaps and Derivatives Association might reflect on those words as they consider the wreckage of their latest attempt to bring credit default swaps back into the investment mainstream.

  • Wolfgang Schaeuble

    ​Not fit for purpose

    It wasn’t meant to be this way. When regulators cooked up the next generation of subordinated debt instruments after the financial crisis, they were clear about what this new generation of bonds should do: absorb losses, help a struggling bank get back on its feet, and give it breathing room in times of stress.

  • Italy

    That (kitchen) sinking feeling

    At the end of January, Italian sovereign bonds tanked after the European Central Bank began making disgruntled noises about the worryingly high levels of bad loans permeating the country’s bloated banking system.

  • George Osborne

    Dribble on

    Chancellor George Osborne last week “postponed” the retail sale planned to complete the exit of the UK government from the shareholder register of Lloyds Banking Group.

  • Oil and Gas

    Size matters

    Doom-mongers (and they are many) are always on the lookout for whatever they think is about to trigger the next financial crisis. The supposedly impending collapse of China hasn’t managed it (yet), so now they’ve homed in on something else: banks’ exposure to the oil and gas industry.

  • The Great Wall of China

    China’s last growth engine

    China’s economy is cooling fast. Urban investment, once the great driver of the world’s second-largest economy, is now expanding at its slowest pace since the turn of the millennium. Exports have contracted for six straight months. Industrial output hasn’t grown this slowly since just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It is little wonder that investors are nervous.

  • Banco Espirito Santo (BES) office in Lisbon

    Holiday jeer

    It was meant to be the season of goodwill, but there was precious little of that to be found among the unfortunate investors in five senior bonds issued by Novo Banco that Portugal’s central bank arbitrarily bailed in on December 29.

  • The junk bond rout that wasn't

    Junk science

    All the pieces were in place last week for a high-yield meltdown. The collapse of Third Avenue’s distressed debt fund – the largest mutual fund failure since the financial crisis – sent high-yield spreads out to four-year highs. The Fed’s rates hike will make access to capital more expensive for overly leveraged credits, while the worsening tumble in oil prices is merely preparing another round of defaults in the oil and gas sector.