Chief Investment Officer's INSIGHTS

Discover BIL's Chief Investment Officer's INSIGHTS


BILBoard Lite
December 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
December 12, 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
December 05, 2017


What US tax reform could mean for markets

The Trump administration is attempting to have its widely-anticipated tax reform bill written into law at breakneck speed. One of the key features of the proposals is a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 20% in order to further stimulate the domestic economy.


Weekly Market Snapshot
November 28, 2017


High-yield shakeout ; a canary in the coal mine?

A recent sell-off in European and US high-yield (HY) bond markets led some commentators to speculate that this could be a sign of trouble around the corner for global equity rally. On the contrary, though stock markets have gone through a brief tough spell, the outlook remains positive, with equities still able to take sap from the global economic rebound.


Weekly Market Snapshot
November 21, 2017


Europe: An Engine for Global Trade

A central tenet of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest Regional Economic Outlook released November 13th 2017, is that all European economies are growing, with the dispersion of growth rates at its lowest point in nearly two decades.


European growth holds strong with Germany as the leader of the pack

The $10 trillion eurozone economy remains on track to record its strongest year since 2007. A second reading from Eurostat released this morning, confirmed that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in both the single currency area and the wider EU increased 0.6% in the third quarter. This was in line with a flash estimates released at the end of October.


Weekly Market Snapshot
November 14, 2017


Bank of England Rate Hike: The first in a decade

At its November meeting, the Bank of England (BoE) hiked interest rates for the first time in a decade.The committee’s decision to raise the base-rate by 25 basis points to 0.5%, was seemingly due to the fact that inflation is over-shooting the bank’s 2% target by a whole percentage point. Policymakers may have also been emboldened by the fact that the British economy expanded by 0.4% in the third quarter, outpacing economists’ expectations.


China moves towards opening up its financial sector

As we noted in a recent article about China’s One Belt One Road project, China’s President Xi Jinping is making decisive moves to position his country as a major global superpower. On Friday, China went one step further, scaling back ownership limitations which foreign investors in the Chinese financial sector are subject to. The move compliments Beijing’s efforts to contain capital outflows, by creating a new channel for foreign money to flow into domestic markets.


China’s 21st Century Silk Road Ambitions Enshrined in Constitution

During the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on 18-24th October, President Xi Jinping’s ambitious ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) was cemented into his Party’s constitution, emphasising its significance and signalling an acute dedication to realizing the vision.


Classic cars: A viable investment vehicle?

Over a twelve year period, classic cars take the crown for offering the best returns of all ‘passion investments’, having appreciated some 300%. But, according to the Coutts Passion Investment Index released in Q3 2017, in 2016, this crown slipped. On a one-year basis, in 2016, the value of classic cars dropped some 10.4% . Some see this as a buying opportunity, after years of pent-up demand stalls. This compelled us to examine the investment case for classic cars. Is the niche classic car market, where certain models still fetch millions at auction, a profitable place to park capital?


Weekly Market Snapshot
November 07, 2017


BILBoard Lite
November 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
October 31, 2017



As the second-longest bull market in history continues to age gracefully, equity prices are relentlessly climbing to new highs. Dovetailing factors have fuelled the rise: excessive liquidity, the global economic recovery, and most importantly, the rebound in corporate earnings. As a consequence, valuations are becoming demanding, and will become even more so if we see a rise in rates without a simultaneous pick-up in earnings growth.


Fed Watch: Will Quantitative Tapering lift long-term yields?

Treasury bond yields have been rising for the past few weeks based on hopes for tax reform and expectations of Federal Reserve (Fed) policy normalization through higher interest rates and balance sheet reduction (i.e. Quantitative Tightening (QT)). Further information surrounding the Fed’s intentions should be revealed at next week’s FOMC meeting which will kick-off on October 31st.


A ‘Minsky Moment’ in the Retail Sector?

A ‘Minsky moment’ is a sudden major collapse of asset values which is part of the credit or business cycle. The American economist, Hyman Minsky, postulated that long periods of prosperity and increasing investment lead to increasing speculation using borrowed money, eventually leading to a crash. Across the US Retail sector, stores have been built excessively, to capitalise on the strength of US consumers. Now, with the proliferation of online retailing, mall owners, developers and investors who hold equities and bonds in American household retail names are in uncomfortable territory as the realisation begins to hit home that the entire retail ecosystem has been permanently altered.


ECB October Meeting: No tricks, and a small treat

Yesterday, 26th October, the European Central Bank (ECB) unveiled its widely anticipated QE departure plan. From January 2018, the bank’s quantitative easing (QE) program, under which it buys €60 billion (Bn) worth of corporate bonds per month, will be slowed to a rate of €30bn-a-month for an initial nine-month period.


Japan: A re-rating story

Shinzo Abe cruised to a resounding victory in the Japanese national election with his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and coalition partner Komeito taking roughly two-thirds of the seats in the Lower House.


Weekly Market Snapshot
October 24, 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
October 17, 2017


Cryptocurrencies, central banks and the monopoly on money

After the spectacular price appreciation in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies this year, investor interest in this space has piqued quite dramatically. The global market capitalization of cryptocurrencies has grown from $18 billion at the beginning of 2017, to some $164 billion.


Weekly Market Snapshot
October 10, 2017


Catalan campaign: market impact thus far contained

The coming weeks are likely to be strewn with political turbulence as the Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy tries to grapple with what is becoming a constitutional crisis. We examine the potential impact this could have on financial markets.


BILBOARD Autumn 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
October 03, 2017


Seize the moment: invest in euros


Weekly Market Snapshot
September 26, 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
September 19, 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
September 12, 2017


BILBoard Lite
September 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
September 05, 2017


BILBoard Lite
August 2017


Elusive inflation leaves markets and Fed in a quandary

On Tuesday, the 25th of July the US Federal Reserve Open Market Committee will kick-off a two-day meeting to discuss its interest rate policy, but it is widely expected that status quo will be the outcome…


Weekly Market Snapshot
July 18, 2017


A wave of optimism for Japanese equities

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) left monetary policy unchanged at its June meeting, adding to the bullish case for Japanese equities.


Weekly Market Snapshot
July 11, 2017


BILBOARD Summer 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
July 04, 2017


Portugal: Out of the red and into the green?

Until recently, Portugal was commonly viewed as one of the weak links in the EU – a peripheral nation more likely to hamper economic progress, rather contribute to it. The country’s ‘Great Recession’ from 2010-14 left it unable to refinance its government debt without the assistance of the IMF and the EU who provided a bailout of €79 billion (Bn) to keep the economy afloat.


50 Shades of Green

Socially responsible investing (SRI) is transitioning from niche to norm. At the end of 2016, $23 trillion (tn) of assets were being professionally managed under responsible investment strategies worldwide; up 25% since 2014 , per the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. Europe held the lion’s share of this amount; $12tn.


Weekly Market Snapshot
June 27, 2017


The euro’s renaissance unleashes the weaknesses of Europe

The US dollar has soared some 19% against the euro since the beginning of 2014. From a European point of view two distinct factors put the wind in the dollar’s sails: interest rate differentials and the perception of the dollar as a safe harbour.


Weekly Market Snapshot
June 20, 2017


Wall street fear gauge, the VIX - a weather vane, not a barometer

Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’, the VIX, which measures the implied volatility on the S&P 500 equity index made headlines last week after it fell to 9.7, its lowest level since 1993. Some fear this is a bellwether of poor investment returns to come. However, on its own, we think of the VIX, more like a weather vane, taking stock of the market’s current direction, rather than a barometer which predicts approaching weather…


Weekly Market Snapshot
June 13, 2017


BILBoard Lite
June 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
June 06, 2017


Why investors should enjoy the good times while they last


The descent is more difficult than the climb

Next week, British political parties will be battling out the final stages of their election campaigns before voters take to the polling stations on June 8th. Recent surveys reveal that the Conservatives are in the lead with 46% of the vote, ahead of Labour who hold 34%.


Markets forget the bleak long-term picture and focus on the British election

The European Central Bank (ECB) has pledged to extend its €2.3 trillion asset purchase programme until December 2017 and to keep key interest rates in negative territory until thereafter. But then, in 2018, the ECB is likely to begin its slow descent from easy monetary policy.


Weekly Market Snapshot
May 23, 2017


Italy’s indebtedness and the imminent need for structural reform

Whilst markets were fixated on the French elections, Italy’s economic and political problems continued simmering. Italy’s public and private sectors are beleaguered by debt and soon Italy’s banks may require fresh capital injections.


Weekly Market Snapshot
May 16, 2017


BILBoard Lite
May 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
May 10, 2017


Unrated bonds are an expert’s domain

Some years ago, ‘bond king’ Jeffrey Gundlach, the founder of DoubleLine Capital said: "Fear and loathing" best describes market sentiment toward risky assets. Today, the era of ultra-low-yields has somewhat reversed this sentiment.


A Silver Lining Around Greece’s Debt Cloud

For years, Greeks have longed for the debt crisis that has hung over the nation like a dark cloud since the 2008 crisis to subside. Last week, official figures revealed Greece had far exceeded its lenders' targets for budget savings in 2016. On April 24th, monitors from the EU and IMF returned to Athens to discuss further aid…


Weekly Market Snapshot
April 25, 2017


100 days of Trump, the unprecedented President

Trump’s main pledge to American voters was the one emblazoned across his baseball cap: to ‘Make America Great Again’. How he planned on doing so was outlined in his ‘contract with the American voter’ - a 100-day action plan, to April 29th. As his 100th day nears, it’s hard to pinpoint any big-ticket wins Trump has had.


Chinese aspirations in global trade and the Baltic Dry Index

Anchors are raised as an upturn in global trade breathes new life into the shipping industry... The Baltic Dry Index – which provides an assessment of global shipping costs for dry-bulk commodities, based on daily data compiled by the Baltic Exchange in London – has hit its highest level in two years.


Weekly Market Snapshot
April 11, 2017


Are European High-Yield Bonds poised for a hawkish ECB?

European high-yield (HY) bond prices have enjoyed strong support from the ECB’s bond-buying program. April 2017 marks the first month of slowing in ECB bond-buying; monthly purchases of corporate bonds will be reduced from €80bn to €60bn. Over the next week, the effects of this should start coming through.


Weekly Market Snapshot
April 04, 2017


A multi-speed Europe - the remedy for a multitude of problems?

Nobel laureate, Joseph Stiglitz, once said ‘what Europe needs more than structural reform within member countries is reform of the structure of the eurozone itself.’ Faced with Brexit, rising nationalism and brewing disenchantment within the EU, the largest members - Germany, France, Spain and Italy – are finally taking heed.


BILBOARD Spring 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
March 28, 2017


Long term US rates at 3% by year-end?

In response to the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) rate hike from 0.75% to 1% in March, US financial conditions eased rather than tightened.
Though the somewhat dovish Fed did not add a fourth hike to their 2017 agenda, analysts now expect ten-year yields to be higher at the end of the second quarter than they did previously, and some expect to see 3% at year-end. Why?


Tremendous moment to invest in European equities


Weekly Market Snapshot
March 21, 2017


Equities, the new kid on the block

Equities seem to have jumped to the top of many investors’ shopping lists; a place which was reserved for safer, fixed income investments for years. They are encouraged by the steady stream of positive economic data and the upswing in global growth.


Bitcoin: The Future of Finance… Until the regulators step in?

The top performing currency of 2016 was bitcoin, with laudable gains of 126%. Some predict that this paperless money represents the future of finance, a game-changer for the world economy. But does the world really need another fiat currency?


Weekly Market Snapshot
March 14, 2017


A Win for Le Pen… What then?

The parable of the broken window was introduced by the French economist Frédéric Bastiat in his 1850 essay: it seeks to show how opportunity costs, as well as the law of unintended consequences, affect economic activity in ways that are "unseen" or ignored.


BILBoard Lite
March 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
March 07, 2017


Time for Champagne in the Coal Club?

Prior to 2016, the coal industry was beset by woes. The commodity which is primarily used in electricity generation and steel production, has faced increasing competition from natural gas and renewables


Weekly Market Snapshot
February 28, 2017


Greece and its Creditors end stalemate, in theory

Greece and its creditors reached ‘common ground’ last Monday, but will a deal materialise in practice?


Weekly Market Snapshot
February 21, 2017


Trump’s Valentine’s Gift to Banks

Trump’s presidency has thus far been bountiful for banking stocks. The sheer number of Goldman-alumni who hold prominent positions in his cabinet has led some protestors to coin the new administration ‘Government Sachs’.


Turkey: Losing Its Shine

Once referred to as ‘the Diamond between two sapphires’, Turkey is now more representative of a diamond in the rough, sitting amidst the Middle Eastern crisis with ISIS-held territories of Syria on its doorstep.


Weekly Market Snapshot
February 14, 2017


Could ‘Nexit’ be the next ‘Brexit’?

2017 plays host to a series of pivotal elections in the European Union (EU). In each, far-right parties, many of which oppose the currency union, have acquired newfound popularity and fears have been rising that a domino effect of populism could unfold cross Europe.


BILBoard Lite
February 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
February 7, 2017


Russia’s Rebound?

In 2016, the Moscow Stock exchange (MICEX) posted stellar gains of 59%. The rouble was crowned as the currency of the year against the dollar, having gained 20%.


The Trump rally in perspective

Markets have largely re-priced both inflation and growth from the very pessimistic levels seen in 2016. While equity vs. bond performance, cyclicals vs. defensives and value vs. growth initially lagged the improvement in PMIs, they seem to have moved ahead of the data…


Weekly Market Snapshot
January 31, 2017


Brexit – Still a long way from being signed, sealed and delivered

On 23rd June 2016, 52% of the British public voted to leave the European Union (EU). Conversely, 63% of the electorate did not vote for Brexit, if one factors participation rates.


Weekly Market Snapshot
January 24, 2017


A Little Less Tweets...

Markets now need to see a little more action from Trump


Weekly Market Snapshot
January 17, 2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
January 10, 2017


Investors chasing Trumpflation Treasure Trail may be chasing Fool's Gold


Winter 2016/2017


Weekly Market Snapshot
December 20, 2016


BILBoard Lite
December 2016


Weekly Market Snapshot
November 29, 2016


Weekly Market Snapshot
November 22, 2016


Weekly Market Snapshot
November 15, 2016


The come-back of inflation?


Weekly Market Snapshot
November 08, 2016


BILBoard Lite
November 2016


Weekly Market Snapshot
October 25, 2016


Weekly Market Snapshot
October 18, 2016


Autumn 2016


BILBoard Lite
September 2016


The EBA stress test was positive: Shall we buy European banks now?


BoE: “challenging” outlook for UK financial stability

Investors should prepare for the long haul, as Brexit talks look set to drag on for months, if not years


Brexit risks unravelling Europe

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union threatens economic and political prosperity in Europe


Was crossing the zero-bound a mistake?

The European Central Bank’s experiment with negative interest rates has yielded little benefit for euro area citizens and made financial markets more unstable.


US Fed faces big rate hike dilemma

May’s extremely weak US labour market data has thrown a spanner into the works ahead of an all-important Federal Reserve meeting this week


Forget Brexit – watch out for negative rates

The Bank of England may need to cut interest rates this year if the UK economy fails to rebound following the EU referendum next month


Is Erdoğan’s political gambit putting Turkey’s economy at risk?

President Erdogan’s latest actions may be an unwelcome distraction as Turkey’s economy comes under growing pressure


Markets are nervous and fear is the driver


Euro Banks might be a good investment if we trust the ECB


Renewed hope for Greece

We all have seen a familiar pattern whenever EU finance ministers and Greek leaders meet to renegotiate the terms of Greece’s financial bailout agreement: as talks near Greece’s borrowing costs tend to rise, fuelling concerns in financial markets of a disorderly default.


Slow growth forces central banks into action

Dovish policies from the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank have helped lift markets after a terrible start to the year. But in doing so central banks are simply buying time.


Why Italy’s bad bank is good news

Italy’s new rescue fund, named “Atlante”, will ease the burden placed on its struggling banking sector, but both more capital and an immediate reform of Italy’s bankruptcy laws are needed


Are Brazil’s fortunes about to change?

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is a step closer to losing her mandate. While this has given markets something to cheer about, Brazil’s long-term prospects remain grim


After the storm

There is a "gathering storm" in the global economy, as growth decelerates and the world runs out of monetary policy options, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bank of central banks, warned in its March quarterly report.


Foreign investors might sit out Russia’s privatisation

Under pressure to fill a gaping hole in the country’s finances, Russia’s government last month announced plans to sell stakes in a number of domestic companies.


Can commodities finally turn a corner this year?

It’s fair to say that commodities have had a miserable few years in terms of performance. Oil prices have slumped in response to a global supply glut, while industrial metals like copper and iron ore are languishing due to the slowdown in global growth, especially in China.


US growth weaker, but recession doubtful


What lies behind the global economic slowdown?


US Economy


Will the sell-off in sovereigns continue ?


US Treasuries


Quantitative Easing


Risk Considerations


Economic Outlook 2015


The Rubik's Cube of yield investment 2014


Market Pulse
October 2014


Bubble of Equities

Wall of worry for investors?


European Economic Growth

What does it take, what can we expect ?


Deflation and the ECB

Will the ECB stay ahead of the curve?


US Economic growth and low rates

Are low rates here to stay?