Government bond Markets: Shaw Capital Management February Newsletter

Government bond markets have ended 2009 on a very disappointing note. A further improvement in sentiment about the prospects for the global
economic recovery

Online PR News – 08-June-2010 – – Government bond markets have ended 2009 on a very disappointing note. A further improvement in sentiment about the prospects for the global
economic recovery, and indications that some central banks might be preparing to introduce early “exit strategies” from the measures that had been introduced to counter the recession, have been important factors in producing a more cautious attitude amongst bond investors. But a further significant consideration towards year-end has been the fear of possible defaults on sovereign debts after the decision by Dubai World, a government-owned company, to seek a moratorium on the servicing of its debts, and the downgrade in the credit rating of Greece because of its
deteriorating fiscal situation.

Shaw Capital Management Korea February Newsletter: There was always the risk that the funding requirements resulting from recent policies, and particularly from the measures to counter the latest recession, would prove to be a massive burden for the global bond markets, and this has now proved to be the case. The Dubai government appears to have been rescued by help from Abu Dhabi; but it is still not clear whether there will be help for Greece and other periphery countries of the euro-zone that are in difficulties, and doubts have also been expressed about countries outside the euro-zone, including the UK, if central banks do not implement “exit strategies” carefully, and credible plans to reduce the massive fiscal deficits are not introduced fairly quickly.

Shaw Capital Management Korea February Newsletter: There was always the risk that the funding requirements resulting from recent policies
would prove to be a massive burden for the global bond markets.

These doubts have already led to a significant widening of yield spreads on bonds of member countries of the euro-zone, with Greek bond yields now more than 2.5% higher than German bond yields; and even 10-year yields on US bonds and UK gilts have risen to the 4% level as investors have reduced their exposure.

Shaw Capital Management Korea February Newsletter: Our position on the prospects for the bond markets remains unchanged. We still expect that the recovery in the global economy will only develop at a very slow pace, and that “exit strategies” will only be introduced very
gradually. The background situation will therefore continue to provide some support for bond markets.

But the timescale for the implementation of “exit strategies” is shortening; and the massive fiscal deficits are already placing great strains on the
markets. The fears of defaults on sovereign debt may well be an overreaction; we expect, for example, that the weaker members of the eurozone
will receive support from the stronger members to prevent defaults; but higher bond yields appear unavoidable. Prospects for all the major bond
markets are therefore very unattractive.

Shaw Capital Management Korea February Newsletter: The performance of the US economy remains a critical factor in assessing those prospects, and the latest evidence has become more positive. The growth rate in the third quarter of the year has been revised down again; but since then there has been a lower-than-expected fall in non-far payrolls, and an improvement in consumer sentiment that is reflected in a reasonable level of retail sales in the run-up to Christmas. Weaknesses remain, especially in manufacturing, and new house sales fell sharply in
November; but a growth rate around 2% is expected this year. The Fed appears to agree with this more optimistic view, arguing in the statement after the latest meeting of its Open Market Committee that economic activity is continuing to pick up, and that the deterioration in the labour market is abating; but it is remaining very cautious. Interest rates are likely to be at low levels “for an extended period”, and the quantitative easing programme has been maintained, although some of the emergency liquidity measures will be withdrawn. It is clearly anxious to avoid doing anything that might harm the economic recovery. This should continue to provide some support for the bond market, even though the Fed will no longer be buying Treasuries and other corporate bonds; but it does appear that this will not be enough to offset the effects of the massive fiscal deficit, which is expected to reach $1.5 trillion this year, and to remain high well into the future.

Shaw Capital Management Korea February Newsletter: Debt issuance rose to over $2 trillion in 2009 to finance this deficit, and to replace maturing bonds; and the latest decision to take advantage of the unexpected windfall from the repayment of bank bail-out funds that are no longer needed to provide new resources for job creation is a clear indication that there are no plans to take early action to reduce the deficit.

It is not surprising therefore that bond investors have been reducing their exposure to the market, and that the yield curve has continued to steepen. In the absence of any change in policy, this process is likely to continue, and push overall yield levels even higher.

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Peter Kennedy
Shaw Capital Management 7F Yeji Building, Yeoksam-Dong 641-11, Gangnam-Gu, fax +82 2 398 5853
Seoul Seoul, 135-909

+ 82 2 398 5852