The Vote for Scottish Independence: Which Way Will It Go?

In 2013, the governments of Scotland and United Kingdom passed the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill inviting all United Kingdom residents living in Scotland and aged 16 and over to vote on the referendum question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” On September 18 2014, 4.3 million registered voters will vote “Yes” or “No” on Scottish independence. A simple majority is required to gain independence. Monica Defend, Pioneer’s Head of Global Asset Allocation Research, provided the summary that follows … Continue reading

“Whatever it Takes” Two Years Later: What’s New?

Today is the second anniversary of Mario Draghi’s “Whatever it takes” pronouncement during the darkest days for the euro. Let me share with you some thoughts on how that event probably changed the course of the Eurozone.

Draghi’s speech did what it was supposed to do – it preserved the euro and it calmed the economy and the financial markets – without costing a single euro. The most important measure of success is that after the speech, the Outright Monetary Transaction Program (OMT), which allowed the European Central Bank (ECB) to buy short-term bonds from euro governments, was not utilized even once. The bottom line: The speech and the program were nothing more than a communications initiative, albeit an extremely adept one.

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Seeking New Opportunities in Emerging Markets Debt

Yerlan Syzdykov, Head of Emerging Markets Bond & High Yield here at Pioneer Investments, recently shared his thoughts with London’s press on the challenges of investing in emerging market debt. I thought I would share them here with you as well. The following is a summary of his remarks:

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Four Reasons to Feel Good about the Economy and the Markets

Market and economic news last week was busy and upbeat. In the capital markets, U.S. Treasuries and gold sold off, but everything else went up. On the global economic front, there were plenty of positive signs as well.

Here are a few highlights:

1. The U.S. economy continues to expand
The Fed’s Beige Book confirms that the economy no longer needs extraordinary support from the Fed. The report showed the economy continuing to expand and the labor market continuing to improve. The pace of growth was characterized as “moderate” in seven districts and “modest” in five – a broad and robust economic recovery (weak nowhere).

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The ECB’s Preventive Measures – Will They Be Enough?

At their monthly meeting today, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced a number of measures, aimed at preventing a “negative spiral…between low inflation, falling inflation expectations and credit, in particular in stressed countries”.*

Our initial impression is that these measures were anticipated by the market and therefore should not lead to major shifts in sentiment. The news is good for peripheral economies and assets, but the bar to outright quantitative easing (purchases of government bonds) has probably risen. The cut in the refinancing rate was also well-anticipated by the market, despite some marginal disappointment that the rate cut wasn’t 15bps. Apart from benefitting mortgage holders in certain countries whose loans are linked to the ECB rate, this move is largely symbolic, and in our view is unlikely to have a significant impact on economic activity or inflation rates. The deposit rate cut was also anticipated by markets.

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Time to Reassess the Emerging Markets Landscape?

The last decade may well be remembered as the golden era for Emerging Markets (EM). These economies emerged from the crisis of the 90s and experienced a success story of restructuring and strong growth early in the millennium. Cheap labor markets and massive capital inflows, along with extraordinarily loose monetary policies put in place globally to fight recession, were behind the EM renaissance. Continue reading

A Eurozone Pick-Up? Three Key Insights

The Eurozone economy is showing more convincing signs of a pick-up that is more broad based and robust than anticipated. Obviously, a wide difference in conditions exists between European countries and fragmentation in their financial conditions still exist, but these are (slowly) receding. We recently examined trends in three elements of Eurozone health: growth, inflation and the European Central Bank.

Growth: Improving Momentum
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