Investors doubting monetary or fiscal policy actions by governments have been nicknamed bond vigilantes in the ’90s. After ten years of monetary policy anesthetic, the number of skeptics is growing.
There have been plenty of examples in emerging markets, including Argentina and Turkey, but what’s interesting is that for the first time, the Vigilantes are turning their attention to developed markets.
1. In the UK, which faces a binary economic and political outcome on Brexit, the Bank of England has adopted a “rule of thumb” of one hike per year. Despite the unanimous 9-0 MPC vote, markets reacted with disappointment to the bank rate hike to 0.75%: Sterling fell and interest rates tightened.
2. In Italy, an early government meeting to discuss the 2019 budget was met with a rise in BTP yields over 3%. The move was later quelled thanks to a €950mn government buy back in short dated government paper.
3. The BoJ, whose balance sheet is now over 100% of Japan’s GDP and who has been flagged an appetite for higher yields and quantitative tightening, decided to only widen the 10-year yield range to +/-0.2 percent from +/-0.1, causing a fall in 10-year yields and bank shares, which had previously risen on expectations of a more hawkish outcome.
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