Posts Tagged ‘Rapid Expansion’
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
by Matt Tucker, iShares
Investors are spooked. They are so spooked that they are buying an asset that currently has a negative yield. What is the culprit causing so much concern? Curiously, it’s inflation. Investors appear to be so concerned about inflation that they are seeking protection against it without much regard to the cost of that protection.
This phenomenon is playing out in the market for Treasury Inflation Protection Securities, or TIPS. The US Treasury auctions TIPS securities every six weeks. In the last few auctions, the demand for TIPS by investors has been oversubscribed by almost 3X. All this demand for inflation protection has contributed to negative real yield level across the entire TIPS curve.
Why might investors be clamoring for inflation protection?
TIPS are the only financial asset that directly protects an investor’s principal from changes in realized inflation. While real estate and commodities are indirect means of inflation protection, the principal on TIPS adjust with changes in the non-seasonally adjusted consumer price index. But current levels of volatility are making it difficult for businesses and investors to know if this is a risk they should hedge. The uncertainty regarding the direction and impact of inflation is at 30-year highs. The chart below show the volatility of the CPI index over the past 50 years.
What is making this sudden increased demand for inflation protection so curious is that despite the rapid expansion of the money supply in the past four years, inflation has not gotten out of control. In fact a warmer winter caused deflation of 0.5% in the fourth quarter of last year as energy prices fell. While the money supply has increased as the Fed has injected liquidity, the weak economy and tight lending environment have not put upward pressure on prices. All this liquidity has not translated into current inflation.
For investors, having a strategic allocation to TIPS or the iShares Barclays TIPS Bond Fund (TIP) as part of an overall portfolio may be prudent. However, it might make sense to ask yourself what your view is on inflation before investing in TIPS. Negative real yields in this context may be viewed as the “cost” of realized inflation protection, so you should have a view on how long that cost will likely be incurred before the payoff in actual inflation occurs.
No matter what your view is on inflation, you can look at these signposts for keys to future inflation – bid-to-cover ratio at TIPS auctions, flows into TIPS investments like ETFs, monthly changes in the CPI and market expectations of future inflation through “breakeven inflation” levels (the difference between nominal and real rates). Hopefully these clues will give you some guidance on when to add inflation protection to your portfolio.
Bonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. TIPS can provide investors a hedge against inflation, as the inflation adjustment feature helps preserve the purchasing power of the investment. Because of this inflation adjustment feature, inflation protected bonds typically have lower yields than conventional fixed rate bonds and will likely decline in price during periods of deflation, which could result in losses. Government backing applies only to government issued securities, not iShares exchange traded funds.
Tags: Commodities, Consumer Price Index, Cpi Index, Culprit, Curve, Energy Prices, Financial Asset, Fourth Quarter, Impact Of Inflation, Inflation Protection, Ishares, liquidity, Matt Tucker, Money Supply, Phenomenon, Rapid Expansion, Six Weeks, Upward Pressure, Us Treasury Auctions, Volatility
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Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
by Trader Mark, Fund My Mutual Fund
You never quite know when the bad debt is going to start poking its ugly head out from within the python that is the banking system but we’ve been waving the red flag for a few years about the steps China took to avoid a slowdown in 2009 [Feb 16 2009: Is China Pulling an Alan Greenspan?] [May 27, 2009: How is China Spending their Stimulus... and How Many Loans Will go Bad?] and more recently [Jun 2, 2011: China Now Beginning to Feel Hangover from Lending Boom - Government May Assume Some Local Debt]. When you blow out money in every direction, much will be misallocated. . [Mar 29, 2011: [Video] An in depth Look at China’s Empty Cities] [Jan 14, 2011: [Video] Behold China’s Nearly Empty Mega Mall] [Nov 13, 2009: Ordos - China's Empty City]
It wasn’t just China – more recently we’ve seen some bad behavior amongst the Brazilian consumer, many of which had access to credit for the first time. They began acting like Americans circa 2004. [Jan 12, 2011: Canada and Brazil Taking on U.S. Characteristics in Debt Exposure]
Brazil’s economy grew at a 8.4% clip in the first nine months of 2010—its fastest pace in more than 15 years—powered in part by a sharp increase in government-subsidized loans and a rapid expansion in consumer credit. That can be a lethal cocktail.
The data in Brazil are troubling: Late payments on credit cards and other consumer loans jumped 23% in November from a year earlier. The country has witnessed a fivefold expansion in consumer credit over the past eight years
Apartment prices are popular dinner table — and beach — conversation in Rio, anecdotes of humble doormen and taxi drivers becoming real estate brokers are common, as are stories of people snapping up apartments without seeing them.
3,300 new brokers were registered in Rio state last year, a nearly ten-fold increase from 2005.
The explosion of credit in recent years has raised concern that Brazil is nurturing a new breed of sub-prime consumers who are not financially astute enough to manage their debts and who could default as the economy cools and interest rates rise.
Canada and Australia also seem to be in some form of credit bubbles – especially housing related – but strong natural resource backstopped economies seem to have shielded them (thus far) from any pain. Again, knowing when exactly these ‘good times’ turn bad is very difficult to time – even if you see the train coming.
Whatever the case, it seems much of the BRIC is reaching a hangover level as the financial companies in these countries suffer. The stock markets have been acting poor for all of 2011, and if one believes in ‘efficient markets’ (I find the theory doubtful in many ways), one should be asking what the stock markets are forecasting about the economies. It’s all coming together for a very fun 2012….
Bloomberg has a very detailed piece on the situation in Brazil, India, and China… some snippets
- Banks in the biggest emerging markets are losing the confidence of investors as loans turn sour after a two-year credit binge.
- Brazil’s financial shares have lost more this year than counterparts in crisis-stricken Europe as consumer defaults hit a 12-month high in June and borrowing costs climbed to 46 percent.
- Bank stocks in China are trading at lower valuations than global emerging-market indexes for the first time since 2006. The country faces a financial crisis with bad debt that may jump to 30 percent of total loans, Fitch Ratings said.
- Chinese lenders expanded credit at a record pace in 2009 and 2010, making more than 17.5 trillion yuan ($2.7 trillion) of new loans as the government moved to offset a collapse in exports during the global recession. The surge in loans exceeded credit expansions in the U.S. before its financial crisis, in Japan before its stock and property bubbles collapsed in 1990 and in South Korea before the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, according to Fitch.
- About a third of local government financing vehicles, used to get around laws prohibiting direct borrowing, don’t have cash flow to service their debt, according to China’s banking regulator.
- In India, the cost of insuring banks against default has climbed to the highest level in a year. Loan-loss provisions at State Bank of India (SBIN), the nation’s largest lender, rose 77 percent in the first three months of 2011, while net income fell 99 percent.
- Bad loans “are going to rise because we will have to pass on the rate increase,” the bank’s chairman, Pratip Chaudhuri, told reporters in Mumbai after the central bank increased borrowing costs on July 26. “Interest-rate sensitive sectors like real estate and education loans will most definitely be affected,” Chaudhuri said.
- Loans to Brazilian shoppers, Chinese infrastructure projects and Indian developers have fueled the global economic recovery and turned emerging-market banks into some of the world’s biggest companies by market value. Now increased debt burdens threaten growth.
- Brazil’s annual credit-growth rate accelerated to as high as 34 percent in September 2008, the fastest since at least 1995, before moderating. The pace has picked up again, exceeding 19 percent for 11 months through June, central bank data show.
- Loan payments by Brazilian consumers climbed to 26 percent of disposable income in March, up from 24 percent a year earlier. The rising costs of debt signals Brazil’s consumers are “overstretched,” Neil Shearing, a senior emerging-markets economist at Capital Economics in London, wrote in a July 12 report. A retrenchment may drag down Brazil’s economic growth rate to 2.5 percent in 2013, from 7.6 percent last year, according to Shearing.
- “The people doing the borrowing are the people in the lower echelon in terms of income, and that’s worrisome,” Simon Nocera, a co-founder of San Francisco-based hedge fund Lumen Advisors LLC and a former economist at the IMF, said in an interview. Nonperforming loans “will be higher than previous credit cycles.”
Russia is showing some issues as well:
- Lenders in other emerging economies are also showing signs of stress. Bank of Moscow needed the biggest bailout in Russian history last month after racking up at least 150 billion rubles ($5.4 billion) of unsecured bad loans. The $14 billion rescue of the country’s fifth-largest bank signaled Russian lenders’ health may be “substantially worse” than most investors judge
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Tags: Alan Greenspan, Apartment Prices, Bad Behavior, Bad Debts, Banking System, Brazil, Brazil Carnival, Canadian Market, Consumer Loans, Dinner Table, Doormen, Empty Cities, First Nine Months, Government Subsidized Loans, Incr, India, Infrastructure, Late Payments, Lethal Cocktail, Mega Mall, Rapid Expansion, Real Estate Brokers, Taxi Drivers, Ugly Head
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